Film of the Day (06/14/18): Heathers

 

Written By Daniel Waters
Directed By Michael Lehmann

The dark comedy genre can be a difficult one to pull off, but this movie absolutely masters the art of balancing laugh-out-loud humor with some very bleak examinations of major issues. Teen comedies that came after this must have had a bit of a hill to climb. Every angst-ridden adolescent has wondered what it would be like to kill someone they view as an enemy, so this movie, coupled with its send-up of the indulgence of its era, really taps into an undercurrent that is easy to be swept up in. Are you capable of killing someone you hate, staging it as a suicide, and sitting by while these terrible people were posthumously praised? This film is about role reversals, the horrors of trendsetting and the nightmare of growing up. It’s no accident that the names of the schools in the script are all so generic and flavorless, and Veronica’s scenes with her parents so cookie-cutter and repetitive. The film rebels against conventional norms in the same way the main characters rebel against societal ones. It takes an intense look at suicide, how grown-ups view high schoolers and how much we can lose ourselves when trying to impress others. And given the nature of today’s issues with school violence, it’s the kind of film that would never be made again. What was once cartoonish and unbelievable has become desensitizing and almost normal. Growing up is a bitch.

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