Movie Review: “Do Revenge”

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I actually would not have watched Do Revenge if not for my friends’ interest in it. It just looked like another teen movie, targeted at fans of Riverdale by having Camila Mendes as a lead actress. But then I heard that there was sapphic representation. I watched the trailer and it looked like it had a fun campy aesthetic, and yes, Maya Hawke, of Stranger Things fame, was confirmed to be playing a lesbian character. Of course, my friends and I had to watch the film together on Teleparty.

One thing I noticed about Do Revenge, that my friends although brought up, was that the film harked back to many 80’s-2000’s teen girl movies, like Heathers, Clueless, and Mean Girls. It had a similar revenge plot to Heathers and Mean Girls to these films (excluding Clueless) as well as a similar focus on rich mean girls and their cliques. Some of the costumes in Do Revenge were even purposeful references to the outfits that Cher from Clueless wore. The costume designer also said that she took fashion inspiration from the 90s for Drea’s outfits and from the 70s for Eleanor’s outfits. I think this reflects Drea’s 90’s cool girl energy, and Eleanor’s hippie-ish tomboy personality. These retro-style looks are also very trendy. Tori on Twitter explains:

Drea (Camilla Mendes) and Eleanor (Maya Hawke)

Another thing that I noticed was the romantic tension between Drea and Eleanor. From the beginning, Eleanor gazes at Drea almost lovingly. Then, they form a revenge plot together for their enemies and Drea calls herself “revenge mommy”. Eleanor calls also her that which seemed a little…kinky? And we can’t forget when Drea lay her head on Eleanor’s chest and Eleanor ran her hands through Drea’s hair. Unfortunately (spoiler warning!) they are not an endgame couple. This annoyed me because I think they would have been a really interesting couple, and sapphic couples are so often not allowed to have narratives centered on them. Yes, Eleanor does end up with another girl, but we in the audience don’t get to know this girl very well.

I also don’t want to spoil this, but there’s a plot twist towards the end of Do Revenge. I agree with Struggle Reviewz TV (review video shown at the end of this one) that the pacing of the film was off. This twist appeared very late in the film, and the plot moves very fast from there on. Whereas the pacing at the beginning of the film was rather slow. I understand the climax of a plot can speed up a little, but having this ending be too fast can actually result in being anti-climatic. In addition, there was more exposition than necessary making the beginning of the film drag a little.

Additionally, I found it disconcerting that Drea’s ex-boyfriend, Max, the main villain of the film, seemed to be Jewish based off of his Magen David (aka Jewish star) necklace. He also uses the Yiddish term “kvelling.” Jews are so often caricatured as rich evil villains in the media, that it was surprising that the writers would make this choice to make rich, and evil Max, Jewish. It’s not like Max being Jewish actually had anything to do with his character or the plot so it just seems like a random bit of antisemitism. It’s 2022, we can do better. Hey Alma also has an article on this topic linked at the end of this review.

All in all, I did really enjoy the pastel aesthetic of the film and the queer representation in it, even if Drea & Eleanor weren’t a couple. There were also some genuinely humorous moments that were very timely, like Max claiming to be a feminist, even after he leaked a nude tape of Drea to the entire school. Even though the film was outlandish, and used retro aesthetics, something about it also seemed accurately Gen Z. Probably all that talk about being progressive, while many of the characters were secretly doing bad things. Don’t expect the plot to be perfect because it was definitely flawed. And I really wish that Max wasn’t a Jewish character. Still, I was entertained while watching it, so I would recommend it.

Spoiler review from Struggle Reviewz TV

Hey Alma Article: https://www.heyalma.com/lets-talk-about-that-jewish-villain-in-do-revenge/?utm_source=alma_maropost&utm_campaign=alma&utm_medium=email&mpweb=1161-48947-600278

Do Revenge. Camilla Mendes, Maya Hawke, Sophie Turner, Rish Shah, Austin Abrams. Dir. Jennifer Kaytin Robinson. 2022. Netflix.

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