Why "Do Revenge" Is The Perfect Gen Z Movie
The newest wave of Gen Z movies not only depicts what it means to be a young adult — with complicated friendships and an ever-evolving relationship with social media — but also present it all in an Instagram-worthy package that immediately grabs our attention.
Do Revenge centers around Drea (Camila Mendes) and Eleanor (Maya Hawke) who, after they're both betrayed by the people closest to them, team up to get revenge on each other's bullies. The film is full of Gen Z Hollywood royalty, bringing together cast members from Outer Banks, Riverdale, Stranger Things, and Euphoria, not to mention that the crew — including the director, writers, producer, film editors, and production designers — is full of women.
"It doesn’t feel like a high school movie because it’s not really about being in high school as much as it is about working through your trauma as a teenager," Mendes says in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. While this candy-colored world feels familiar, it is much more than meets the eye.
Compared to rom-coms and family-friendly films, Do Revenge takes a more idealized yet aggressive approach to the ups and downs of adolescence, with whip-smart protagonists and memorable one-liners (one of our favorite quotes from the film is "I'm sorry Schoolhouse Rock, are you dragging my sentence structure right now?").
The power structures and influences that we experience as teens feel distinct from other areas in our lives. The film incorporates classic "queen bee" tropes that are often used in teen movies, but those familiar aspects simply serve as an introduction into the world of Drea and Eleanor.
While Do Revenge is full of references and callbacks to other iconic teen movies — like the hallway scene à la Mean Girls or the 10 Things I Hate About You-esque paint fight — the nostalgia draws us in while the humor and edge are so quintessentially Gen Z that the film becomes its own force.
Plus, including Sarah Michelle Gellar (of Cruel Intentions and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame) in the film brings in a teen icon of decades past and opens up the film even more for viewers of all ages.
Images via Kim Simms/Netflix
Every character has moments where they're perceived as a villain and as a hero, constantly changing your perceptions of who they are as people. But that's just another reason to love the film: Do Revenge doesn't feel the need to make its leads completely perfect.
Despite what we might hope, people in real life aren't all good or all bad, and both Eleanor and Drea are sharp and fierce, but they also make their fair share of mistakes with consequences that seriously affect the people around them.
"I do think that everyone has this duality and everyone has this thing when you're young that you just feel things so intensely," writer-director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson says in an interview with metacritic. "You're gonna feel big and you're gonna make mistakes in a big way."
Considering women are often told to calm down and be quiet, watching these two women feel the extent of their anger and actually act on it is incredibly freeing. It's no surprise that the film is the No. 1 movie in the world.
Image via Kim Simms/Netflix
In addition to all the crazy plot points — from exposing a classmate for growing drugs on the school farm to causing car accidents for drama — the costumesfeel modern yet classic, realistic yet urban fantasy, which are reminiscent of iconic looks from Clueless and Gossip Girl. Drea is often dressed in purples, blues, and greens, and Eleanor in yellows, reds, and browns (although they do cross over).
Similar to the way that Clueless used its own slang to create a world that became separate from the real-world '90s, Do Revenge is relatable in such an outrageous way that it transcends whatever expectations we had to become the ultimate leading force of the genre. It becomes its own movie that won't age out of film in the same way that others might.
This idealized version of reality, in between a harsh truth and a totally dreamy Miami backdrop, feels like the new and improved version of making the most of the world around you. It's like seeing the world — both the good parts and the bad parts — through candy-colored glasses.
Do Revenge is a call to feel the depths of your emotion and to figure out how to move forward when your life falls apart. It's a call to recognize when you need to stand up for yourself and when you need to let go of your anger in the moments when reconciling is more important than cutting off a relationship. Because you can be all of it: You can be angry and sad and happy without sacrificing anything about who you are. And you can look good while doing it.
Other Gen Z Movies We Can't Get Enough Of
- Not Okay
- Honor Society
- Feel the Beat
- Look Both Ways
- To All The Boys I've Loved Before
- The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things
- Chemical Hearts
- Work It
- The Half Of It
- Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between
- Along for the Ride
- All Together Now
- The Ultimate Playlist of Noise
Let us know your favorite moment from Do Revenge in the comments, and make sure you check out our email newsletter for the newest movie and pop culture content.
Featured image via Kim Simms/Netflix.
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B+C Editorial Assistant, Swiftie | Chloe is from the Outer Banks (yes, like the Netflix show!). When she isn't writing or updating her blog Pastels and Pop Culture, Chloe enjoys watching Marvel movies or texting her sister about the latest celebrity news. Say hi at @thechloewilliams on Insta and @popculturechlo on Twitter!