Movie Review: Thoroughbreds (2017)

Movie Review: Thoroughbreds (2017)

Corey Finley's directorial debut features a familiar story with excellent performances.

"Thoroughbreds" is a crime film that generated a lot of buzz on the festival circuit last year, and it has finally hit theaters in limited release. I had heard good things about the film and was quite excited to see how it turned out. Does it live up to the hype? For the most part, yes. "Thoroughbreds" treads the same ground as many crime films before it, but it succeeds due to the exceptionally strong performances and its flashes of dark comedy.

The film follows Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy), a high school girl who rekindles her relationship with Amanda (Olivia Cooke), an old childhood friend. Amanda is emotionally disturbed and most likely a sociopath, which Lily finds morbidly fascinating. Lily begins spending more and more time with Amanda, partly out of her fascination and partly to annoy her obnoxious stepfather, Mark. Amanda is acutely aware of Lily's contempt for Mark and suggests that they simply kill him to solve the problem. Lily initially resists the idea, but after discovering her stepfather plans to ship her off to boarding school as a means of getting rid of her, she agrees to go through with the deed. The teenage duo enlists the help of Tim (the late Anton Yelchin), a sleazy small-time drug dealer, to carry out the murder. As with most crime films, things do not go as planned, and things spiral out of control.

Other movies before "Thoroughbreds" have dealt with petty crime schemes gone wrong ("Heathers" and "To Die For" come to mind when thinking of this film), but where this film succeeds is in its performances. First-time director Corey Finley comes to this film with a background in theater (the script for "Thoroughbreds" was even originally written as a stage play), so it makes sense that great emphasis is placed on the performances. Olivia Cooke is particularly captivating as Amanda. Her deadpan delivery gives her frequently disturbing dialogue a darkly comedic edge. She consistently elicited nervous laughter from the audience at the screening I attended, a mutual feeling of "is she really serious or is this all some sort of sick joke?". Anya Taylor-Joy plays off her costar quite well, transforming over the course of the film from a curious observer into a cunning manipulator as she becomes more actively involved in the murder plot. Anton Yelchin is also quite good as the cagey, pathetic drug dealer, one of the more outwardly comedic characters in the film. The screen chemistry between the three actors is excellent, and their shared scenes are some of the better ones in the film.

While the acting in the film is certainly enough for me to recommend the film, I wish the story had gone a bit further. The movie never quite gives a convincing enough reason for Lily to want to kill her stepfather. He is unbearably WASPish and is rude to both his wife and daughter, but his relationship with Lily never seems so tenuous that murder would ever enter the equation. Perhaps the intention was to satirically underscore Lily's status as a spoiled upper-crust rich kid living in Connecticut. However, not enough is made of that point for it to ever coalesce into something solid, so it winds up stretching suspension of disbelief that she would decide to resort to murder so quickly.

Overall, "Thoroughbreds" is a pretty solid crime movie. It does not reinvent the wheel, but the performances are strong enough to carry the familiar plot. There is a pleasantly off-putting edge to the film, a feeling bolstered by Olivia Cooke's performance as Amanda. It is the kind of movie where it always feels like it is on the verge of going off-the-rails crazy; there is a sort of low-grade nervous tension that pervades the film. Ultimately things play out in a predictable manner, but there is always a feeling that things could take a weird turn, and I appreciate that there is at least the tease of something unexpected happening even if it never manifests. Corey Finley is definitely a director to keep an eye on, and I look forward to seeing what he does next.

Rating: 8/10

Cover Image Credit: Laila Klinsmann

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18 Times Kate Middleton Was Actually All Of Us In College, Beside The Princess Thing

Every girl has to go through her clueless college stage before she reaches Duchess status.

Kate Middleton is basically a household name by now, and how could this not be the case when she has the gorgeous hair, kind smile, and incredible fashion sense. With her constantly in the spotlight looking so put together, we sometimes forget that the Duchess was actually all of us in college!

Here are 18 times that Kate proved she was just like all of us.

1. Going all out in the name of school spirit

There is nothing like breaking out the war paint and screaming for your home team. Like Kate, we all love to get a little messy and make some memories with our friends.

2. Hanging out with the roomies

Some people may not get lucky in this area but for those who are best friends with their roommates, they understand the love. It's a dream come true for everyone who has always wanted to live with their best friends. It's like a sleepover that never ends.

3. Dressing up cute on the first day of school...

You got to make a good first impression on your way to school. Whether it's during your 7 A.M or 4 P.M., it's always best to dress to impress.

4. ...and wearing yoga pants for the rest of the year

And this goes all the way until the last week of school when you don't bother getting out of bed to wear pants at all.

5. Going grocery shopping and throwing in cookies, ice-cream, and every type of Pringles because your mom isn't there to say no

You'll probably regret that in a few months when the Freshman Fifteen kicks in.

6. Walking for miles from your car to your dorm carrying groceries

We can't park by the apartment for a solid five minutes to carry our groceries up to the kitchen or we will risk a ticket, but we can walk a few miles carrying food that gets heavier, and heavier, and heavier with every step.

7. Going out for a night on the town on a Friday night

Dancing, laughter, and fun? Everyone in college has been to a party or two. It's a classic part of the college experience. Sometimes you just need a distraction from all the essays and tests.

8. Being so late to class you threw on whatever your hands grabbed next

We've all been there. Our alarm doesn't go off, we press snooze a few too many times, or forget to even set an alarm and next thing you know we are running around the dorm room like Taz from Looney Toons. You throw on whatever, then run to class.

Unfortunately 9/10 times our outfits don't turn out. Although, Kate can certainly pull off this look, no matter how mismatched.

9. Pretending your walking to the same building as the cute boy you met so you have the excuse to keep talking to him

I am very guilty of doing this. Although I missed my class, at least I got to talk to the really cute boy who has class at 9:45 in the STEM building. It was worth it.

10. Sitting on the floor or standing because you're a poor college student who can't afford chairs or tables

Eating on the floor? Always. Being a college kid is tough and sometimes you have to sacrifice some things to obtain the others. Such as choosing chocolate milk and Halo Top over vegetables and hair conditioner.

Judging by Kate's beautiful locks, she chose the conditioner.

Probably the vegetables too.

We should just all follow her example.

11. Going on cute date with the boy you followed to class-turned-boyfriend

Now my short-lived romance may not have extended farther than us talking and walking to his class, but Kate and William obviously had a better ending. Nevertheless, college is the place to grow and date and possibly find the one.

12. Keeping your hair long and growing because you can't afford to get it cut

Don't trust your roommate. No matter how many times she begs you to let her cut it. Don't.

13. Turning 21 and getting dressed up and going out with your best friends

While this one probably doesn't apply to Kate, since you can drink at age 18 in most countries, all my people in the United States know the sweet freedom of turning 21. It's an iconic time in a students life and marks a huge milestone as well.

14. Passing out flyers for some type of movement or protest

Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger - which is why college is the time to stand up for what you believe in. May that be RedforEd, Planned Parenthood, anti-Abortion, Trump, the Wall, pizza bagels, it's all an exercise of the first amendment.

15. Ranting to your friends about the professor that just "doesn't understand you"

You know your thinking about that professor right now as you read this. And you know that that's your reaction whenever they give you a bad grade or say something you disagree with at the tiniest degree.

16. Getting glammed-up for those senior photos

Pick out your best outfit and make sure it's a good hair day because everyone will be viewing these photos forever... and in Kate's place that is more than true. Luckily she looks as gorgeous as ever. Does she ever have a bad hair day?

17. Walking out of your last class knowing you'll never have to write a single paper again

And purposefully not thinking about how you will be going into the real world in less than a few days.

18. When you've graduated and realized you have no idea what you're going to do with your life

Maybe a prince will be right around the corner to sweep you off your feet so you won't have to figure your life out.
Cover Image Credit: Laura Warshauer

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Junior Year Was A Learning Experience About Who I Am In Order To Be The Best Version Of Myself

This year was a changing experience.


I walked inside with a sure enthusiasm that this year would be better than last. I told myself that I wasn't gonna man the same mistakes and fall into the same traps that can left my grades in the dust for so many years. I said that this was the first year I was going to be stress free and without any problems. I also said this would be the year I would get in shape and stop eating cookies but the day that I'm writing it is national chocolate chip cookie day and I'm enjoying a nice and warm one.

This year is puts so much stress on friendships and the way that people interact with one another. Everyone is so on edge due to a lack of sleep and understanding that we all can tend to lash out at each other even though we wouldn't if we weren't in that state of consistent tiredness and sadness. Running on 4-5 hours of sleep really makes it difficult to understand any conflict that may occur. For example, on the day of the hardest Chemistry test of the year, I saw two of my friends lash out at each other in a moment of pure emotion. But almost as fast as the argument began, it was over and they had overcome the conflict between them. It really is a testament to your connection with the other person if you can make it through the whole year without running into any problems. In terms of personal experiences, each day was a challenge due to the little brain function I had, but I managed to not give into my issues. I was able to work around them and keep myself going.

Junior year was an experience that I'm going to keep with me forever because of the good and the bad. First off, I would like to thank my parents for never giving me that resolved look of contempt or happiness. This only motivated me or to work harder and I would like to say that I think I made you guys proud with how hard I worked this year. The next people I would like to thank are my friends, you guys are the actual goats. I know that many of you guys don't know how much I appreciate you and I would like to say that I really take it to heart when you guys help me with a certain problem, whether its academic, social, or none of the above.

As for the plot that most people were waiting now, the grades of the haunted Junior Year. I consider myself to be a very average student and I thought that my grades were going to be once again average by junior year standards. I though that they were going to fall so low that I would not be asian failing anymore. Surprisingly, this was the first year out of all my years in high school that my hard work paid off with consistent grades. That does not mean good but that does not mean bad. As a junior at Northview, I was amongst the 200 that took 4 AP classes and etc etc. Grades do not have to define you and getting a single bad grade will not kill you is the lesson I learned this year. That was the single most important idea that I could have taken from this year because it gave me a new perspective on my education. It was time I lived a little.

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