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“Bottoms” at the top of everyone’s must-watch list

by Dylan Stovall, Staff Writer

Courtesy of MGM

On Aug. 25, theaters across Long Island filled with queer joy as Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri’s performance in “Bottoms” flashed audiences back to high school for a high-value campy take on a lesbian coming-of-age story. 

For decades, audiences have been exposed to ridiculous and over-the-top high school stories about different Romeo and Juliet. Rather than drawing on stories from Shakespeare’s time, Sennott partners up with director Emma Seligman to write a modern-day film that is more akin to “Fight Club” than it is “The Taming of The Shrew.” Saligman notes in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that they didn’t feel the need to rewatch any of the classic comedies from the genre. 

“I think we didn’t want to be influenced by them, but definitely we felt like queer women hadn’t gotten there due from a teen sex comedy,” Seligman shared. 

Typically, queer women end up being the punchline of the tropes propagated by the genre. In 2004’s “Mean Girls,” characters are constantly bashed for being queer and this drives the revenge plot against the popular girls in school. However in “Bottoms,” characters embrace their queerness and use it to drive the discovery of who they are and how they fit into society. 

Senior musical theatre major Madison Keenoy appreciates the film and the representation it provides to the Gen Z audience. She saw the film after returning to campus with no expectations about the plot or characters.

“My friend group was laughing and living. We were all loving it. We were being obnoxious laughers for whatever reason,” she confided.

One specific moment she recalls is early on in the film when Sennott is attempting to flirt with Kara Gerber’s character at the state fair. Sennot exudes an awkward confidence as she grasps at straws to find common ground with an out-of-her-league cheerleader. While some viewed it as cringeworthy, it is also an experience all kinds of people have lived through. 

“It shows all types of queer people in it with their different backgrounds and personalities,” Keenoy said.

The ridiculousness is part of the reason audiences are turning out in such large waves to see this film. For a genre already riddled with overused and predictable tropes, the creatives behind “Bottoms” decided that the best way to subvert audience expectations is to go to extremes when exploring campy moments. 

“I was not expecting it to be as gory as it was. The killer football players were the most ridiculous plot point I have ever heard of in my life,” Keenoy shared.

In an improved moment, Edebiri uses a minute of screen time to create a tornado of worry and stress as she plots the next thirty years of her life after being embarrassed in front of her crush. By the end of her rant, she is trapped in a loveless marriage with a gay pastor. Edebiri’s performance takes viewers away from the context of the film and invites them on a rollercoaster of absurdity as the character navigates her own emotions, with almost no time in the film’s 92-minute runtime to rummage through ordinary lines of rationality. The lack of mundane activity is central to the storytelling and cultivates a very specific atmosphere that encases the viewer in the world of “Bottoms.” 

Keenoy shared her thoughts on the absurdity and ridiculousness of the film.

“I think the movie is really realistic even though it is ridiculous. I think if I saw this movie when I was questioning, I think it would have had the pot stirring a little quicker. You know?” Keenoy remarked.

After its premiere at the South by Southwest festival, the film is not just generating praise from queer women, but from people of all backgrounds. 

Sophomore musical theatre major Mikey DiGraci shared his thoughts on the critical and audience reception of the film.

“I kept seeing on Twitter that it had 99 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and everyone was like this is the best movie I have ever seen. So I saw it,” DiGraci shared.

 Ecstatic when sharing his favorite moments of the film, DiGraci gushed over the cast. 

“Both Edebiri and Sennott are really gonna skyrocket because this movie was so great,” he said. The film is still showing in theaters and has grossed over $10 million so far. There is also buzz around possible award nominations for the screenplay and performances. Positive reviews and reception has come from all fronts, so whether it’s seen in theaters or later down the line on streaming, fans feel that “Bottoms” is almost guaranteed to make for a perfect night filled with the kind of laughter that makes your abdomen hurt.

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