Booksmart is a coming-of-age buddy comedy released in 2019 and was directed by Olivia Wilde in her feature directorial debut. It stars Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever as two friends who are graduating from high school and set out to break the rules by going to a party on their last day of school.
Booksmart follows Molly and Amy, who are best friends who have always stuck to the rules and solely focused on their education and school, but this is the night where they decide to let loose and have some fun. The film is hilarious but also offers some heartfelt moments.
The film unsurprisingly received great acclaim from critics and made a return of $25 million on its $6 million budget.
Additionally, Feldstein earned a Golden Globe nomination for her performance. So understandably you are looking for similar films. Our top picks are Lady Bird (2017), Juno (2007), and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012). For these and plenty more great suggestions, be sure to read on.
1. Lady Bird
Lady Bird, released in 2017, is a coming-of-age comedy-drama, both written and directed by Greta Gerwig, and was her solo directorial debut. The story is about an artistically inclined high school senior and the strained relationship she and her mother have.
The film stars Saoirse Ronan, and with her are Laurie Metcalf, Lucas Hedges, and Tracy Letts. At the Academy Awards, the film earned five nominations, and at the Golden Globes, it won two awards.
The film was considered, by critics, to be one of the best films of the 2010s. Its budget of $10 million saw a fair return of $79 million. If you enjoyed the strange interactions between different generations in Booksmart as well as the peculiar humor, you’ll love this film.
Juno, released in 2007, is a coming-of-age comedy-drama directed by Jason Reitman. The film follows an independent-minded teenager who has to face the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy and makes an unusual decision regarding it.
Starring in the film is Elliot Page as the title character, and with her are Michael Cera, Jason Bateman, and Jennifer Garner. The film got itself a standing ovation at the Toronto International Film Festival, and it won an Oscar and was nominated for an additional three.
The film had a budget of approximately $6.5 million and made a sizable return of $231.4 million at the box office. If you enjoyed the eccentricity of the characters in Booksmart, you will fall in love with those of Juno.
3. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
It was released in 2012, is a coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Stephen Chbosky. The film was based on his novel from 1999. The film sees an introverted freshman who unknowingly struggles with PTSD, taken under two seniors’ guidance.
The film stars Logan Lerman and with him are Emma Watson and Ezra Miller. This film, too, received a standing ovation at the Toronto International Film Festival. It also received a great critical response and was nominated and won various awards.
The film had a budget of $13 million and unfortunately only made a box office return of $33.4 million, far less than the film deserved. If you enjoyed the beautiful contrasts of characters in Booksmart and how their interactions lead to realizations about one another, you’ll find this genuinely heartwarming.
4. Easy A
Easy A, released in 2010, is a teen romantic comedy directed by Will Gluck. A clean-cut high school student advances her social and financial status by relying on the spreading of rumors in her school. Soon though, the tables turn, and she realizes the dangers of what was initially innocent.
The film stars Emma Stone in the lead role, and along for the journey are Stanley Tucci, Thomas Haden Church, and Patricia Clarkson. The film received the nod from critics and audience members and was nominated for numerous awards, including a Golden Globe.
Its budget of $8 million garnered a great return of $75 million at the box office. If you enjoyed how the characters in Booksmart decided to let loose and just see where things would go, then you’re in for a fun ride with this film.
5. It’s Kind Of A Funny Story
It was released in 2010, is a comedy-drama written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. The film is about a teenager who is clinically depressed and who checks himself in a psychiatric ward. After his stint in the hospital, he gains a new lease on life.
The film stars Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts, and Zach Galifianakis. The film mainly received positive reviews, but unfortunately, even despite this and the audience also loving the film, it did not do well at the box office. It only managed to make back $6.5 million of its $8 million budget.
The film is similar to Booksmart in that it looks at a teenager who has to reassess their life. There are things that we take for granted, and sometimes we overlook issues that need addressing. This film takes things a step further as there is mental health that comes into play, and we realize just how critical interpersonal relationships can be to helping us get by in life.
6. The Fault In Our Stars
It was released in 2014 and is a coming-of-age romance directed by Josh Boone. The film is about a sixteen-year-old, Hazel, who is a cancer patient and is coerced by her parents into attending a support group. There she meets and then falls in love with another cancer patient, Augustus.
The film stars, the leads, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, and with them are Laura Dern, Nat Wolff, and Sam Trammell. The film generally received favorable reviews and sat at number one during its opening weekend.
Its estimated budget of $12 million saw a massive return of $307.2 million. Like in Booksmart, we see two teens struggling with the complications that life has thrown at them, only in this case it is the tragic tale of two individuals who have to deal with the scary reality of cancer.
7. 13 Going On 30
13 Going on 30, released in 2004, is a fantasy romantic comedy that Gary Winick directed. The film is about a 13-year-old teenage girl, Jenna, who wishes to be popular. On her birthday, though, she is humiliated by her classmates and resultantly wishes she were 30, which she is ultimately granted.
The film stars Jennifer Garner, and with her are Christa B. Allen, as the younger Jenna, along with Mark Ruffalo, and Judy Greer. For the most part, the film received positive reviews and was nominated for accolades at the Teen Choice Awards and MTV Movie Awards.
Like in Booksmart, there is the theme of growing up and maturing. The time in our youth is fleeting, and both of these films highlight this and how important it is to not take the seasons in our life for granted.
8. Vampire Academy
Vampire Academy, released in 2014, is a fantasy comedy horror directed by Mark Waters. The film follows a half-human, half-vampire, Rose, who is the guardian of Moroi, a mortal vampire. Rose is tasked with keeping them safe from immortal vampires, known as Strigoi.
The film stars Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, and Danila Kozlovsky. Although gaining favor with the audience, the film did not do well with the critics, and it also flopped at the box office. It only managed to make back $15.4 million of its $30 million budget.
If you enjoyed the importance of friendship in Booksmart and are also a fan of vampires and the fantasy genre, then you’ll more than likely enjoy this film. It may not be the best film on the list, but it may serve as a great guilty pleasure.
9. The Heat
The Heat, released in 2013, is a buddy cop action comedy directed by Paul Feig. The film follows a pair made up of an FBI Special Agent, Sarah, and Detective Shannon Mullins, who are tasked with bringing down a mobster.
The film stars an incredible duo of Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. With them are Demián Bichir, Michael Rapaport, and Marlon Wayans. The film was met with a mix of reviews, and critics pointed out the excellent chemistry between the leads and their stellar performances but stated that the film was predictable.
At the box office, the film did rather well and made an astounding $229.9 million after spending $43 million on production. The great nuances in the relationship between Molly and Amy in Booksmart are similar to those in this film, which offers hilarious performances that will leave you in stitches.
10. She’s All That
The film was released in 1999 and is a romantic comedy directed by Robert Iscove. The film is somewhat of a modern-day retelling of the play by George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion. The film also takes place in a high school setting and follows the story of a popular jock who is dumped by his girlfriend. He then makes a bet with his friends that he can turn geeky Laney into the prom queen.
Starring in the film are Freddie Prinze Jr., Rachael Leigh Cook, and Matthew Lillard. The consensus from the critics was that the performances were praiseworthy, but the script was lacking. The box office was a positive reflection of the film, too, as it turned its budget of $7 million into $103.2 million.
Just as in Booksmart, where stereotypes and people’s presumptions are brought to light, so it is in this film. Like in Booksmart, this film also shines a light on people finding love where they would not have expected it to be found and people end up changed by the end.
11. Mean Girls
Mean Girls, released in 2004, is a teen comedy directed by Mark Waters, who also directed Vampire Academy (2014). The film follows Cady, who attends school for the first time in her life, having previously been home-schooled. She makes friends at the school, but abandons them to become one of the “Plastics”.
The film stars Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, and Lacey Chabert. Critics hailed the film for various reasons, such as the direction, the performances, and the well-played humor.
The movie grossed $130.1 million at the box office on a budget of $17 million and developed an almost cult following. If you enjoyed the intricacies of the relationships between those in Booksmart and how we came to relearn who they really were over the course of the film, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this film.
12. Legally Blonde
Legally Blonde, released in 2001, is a comedy directed by Robert Luketic in his feature-length directorial debut. The film is all about empowering women, and we follow Elle Woods, who earn a Juris Doctorate at Harvard Law School in an attempt to earn back the affection of her ex-boyfriend.
The film stars Reese Witherspoon in the lead, and with her are Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, and Matthew Davis. The film, which was unfortunately quoted as being “predictable and formulaic”, overall, received positive feedback from critics.
At the box office, the film’s budget of $18 million brought in a return of $141.8 million. Like Booksmart, the film broke down stereotypes and points out our outdated and incorrect perceptions of people.
13. Love, Simon
Love, Simon, released in 2018 and is a romantic comedy-drama by director Greg Berlanti. The film focuses on a gay high school student who has yet to come out. He has to balance various aspects of his life, including the threats from someone who wants to out him. All while he is trying to discover a classmate’s identity with whom he has fallen in love online.
The film stars Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, and Josh Duhamel. The film found great favor with critics and audience members, and it was the recipient of several awards.
At the box office, the film made $66.3 million on its budget of approximately $10 million. Like in Booksmart, homosexuality is one of the key themes, and the main difference here is that our hero is yet to come out and is concerned about the repercussions thereof.
Clueless, released back in 1995, is a coming-of-age comedy directed by Amy Heckerling and has undoubtedly stood the test of time. The film follows a trope that has since been redone in a few cases and centers on an average girl who gets a complete makeover and ultimately becomes popular.
Starring in the film are Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, and Brittany Murphy. The film received excellent reviews and has gone down as one of the all-time best teen films ever produced.
Even if the return was conservative, the film was a box office success, sitting at $56.6 million on a budget of $12 million. One thing this film has in common with Booksmart is the evolution of characters and their journey in terms of self-discovery.
15. Paper Towns
Paper Towns, released in 2015, is a romantic mystery comedy-drama directed by Jake Schreier. The film follows an all-night adventure that our protagonist, Quentin, undergoes after his lifelong crush, Margo, disappears. She has left him clues, which he and his friends decide to follow.
In its lead roles, the film stars Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne, along with Halston Sage and Halston Sage. With critics, the film received mixed reviews, but the movie enthralled audience members. And thankfully, its box office reflected this, as it made $85.5 million on a budget of $12 million.
Like with Booksmart, this film is very much an insight into the characters’ journey, both literally and metaphorically. On the journey, they discover more about themselves and each other, and like in Booksmart, the lead of this film learns about his compatibility with the person he loves.
16. The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club, released back in 1985, is a teen coming-of-age comedy-drama written, directed, and produced by John Hughes. The film sees a group of teenagers, from different cliques, who have to sit a Saturday detention together.
The film stars Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, and Anthony Michael Hall. The film is considered Hughe’s most recognizable and memorable works, and it was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress.
The film had a small budget of $1 million and made a box office return of $51.5 million. The film, like Booksmart, examines the interactions between teens who would ordinarily not spend time together and shows how as individuals, we do still have commonalities.
17. Almost Adults
Almost Adults, released in 2016, is a Canadian comedy directed by Sarah Rotella. The film is about how friends sometimes grow apart as they grow older. And we follow a pair of best friends whose relationship comes under strain when one of them struggles with acknowledging her sexuality and the other has a break up with her boyfriend.
The film stars Elise Bauman and Natasha Negovanlis, with them, are Justin Gerhard and Winny Clarke. The film has been said to have made a difference for the LGBT Community and was praised for not playing into lesbian movie tropes. The film also sat quite well with audience members, who gave the film a rating of roughly 8 out of 10.
The film could almost be seen as the next step from Booksmart, as here we have two friends, one of which is lesbian and is dealing with her sexuality and trying to figure out who she likes. It also focuses on the fact that although we are young now, we need to consider planning for the future while not forgetting to live in the moment.
Superbad, released in 2007, is a coming-of-age teen comedy directed by Greg Mottola. The film follows a pair of co-dependent friends who are high school seniors and, before they graduate, want to party and hope to lose their virginities, but things prove more complex in reality.
The film stars Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Michael Cera, Bill Hader, and Emma Stone. The film earned positive reviews, and there was particular praise for the dialogue and chemistry between the leads.
The film’s budget was approximately $17.5 million, and it managed to make a noteworthy $170.8 million at the box office. Superbad could be said to be somewhat like the male version of Booksmart, where friends who have never been the cool kids finally want to let loose and experience what they have been missing out on.
Thirteen, released in 2003, is a teen drama directed by Catherine Hardwicke and was written by her and Nikki Reed. The film follows Tracy, a seventh-grade student who starts dabbling in sex, substance abuse, and crime, but only after befriending a troubled classmate.
The film stars Holly Hunter, Evan Rachel Wood, and with them are Brady Corbet, Kip Pardue, and Deborah Kara Unger. Although the film mainly received favorable reviews, there was some controversy over the content and the depiction thereof.
The film had a limited budget of $1 million and had a box office return of $10.1 million. If you liked the rebellious nature that the leads of Booksmart suddenly develop, you’ll find there is that and so much more in this film. The main difference here, though, is that in Booksmart, the characters were leaving high school, and here they are barely there.
20. American Pie
American Pie, released in 1999, is a coming-of-age and sex comedy directed and co-produced by Paul Weitz in his directorial debut. The film focuses on five classmates, one of which has already lost his virginity, and the others decide to make a pact to lose theirs before they graduate from high school.
The film consists of an ensemble cast of Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, and Natasha Lyonne. The reviews were mixed to average, but that did not stop the film from being a commercial success. It was able to turn its budget of $11 million into a box office of $235.5 million.
Although the goal for Molly and Amy in Booksmart was not outright to lose their virginities, it is touched on, and it is also a film where the outsiders of the school hope to make the most of their last bit of time as high school seniors.
21. Eighth Grade
Eighth Grade, released in 2018, is a coming-of-age comedy-drama written and directed by Bo Burnham. We follow an introverted girl who tries to survive the final week of the eighth grade before she leaves to start high school.
The film stars Elsie Fisher in the lead role of Kayla, and with her are Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, and Catherine Oliviere. The film received critical praise, particularly for the writing, direction, and performance given by Fisher.
The film was made on a relatively small budget of $2 million and made a box office return of $14.3 million. This film is similar to Booksmart as it revolves around the closing of one chapter in a youth’s life and the beginning of another.
22. Jennifer’s Body
Jennifer’s Body, released in 2009, is a comedy horror directed by Karyn Kusama. The film follows a girl who is possessed and ends up killing her male classmates. We watch as she tears through her victims while her best friend tries to put a stop to her actions.
Starring in the lead is Megan Fox, and with her are Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody, and Johnny Simmons. The film was criticized for being neither funny nor scary enough, but the dialogue and performances received praise.
At the box office, its performance was average, and it only managed to earn $31.6 million on a budget of $16 million. This film, like Booksmart, certainly has the essence of girl power, and according to Fox, this film was one that made girls feel comfortable about coming out.
23. The Spy Who Dumped Me
It was released in 2018 and is an action-comedy directed by Susanna Fogel and was co-written by her and David Iserson. Fogel was one of the co-writers who helped bring us to Booksmart. In this film, we follow two friends who go on the run across Europe when assassins are chasing them after one of their ex-boyfriends turns out to be an agent for the CIA.
The film stars Mila Kunis, Justin Theroux, and Kate McKinnon. The film received criticism for its tone, but there was praise for Kunis and McKinnon’s performances. The film had a decent-sized budget of $40 million and only saw a return of $75.3 million.
If you take the chemistry between the characters in Booksmart, as well as their passion for being women, add some guns and explosions as well as have a great deal at stake, you have yourself The Spy Who Dumped Me.
24. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, or as in some countries Bad Neighbours 2, was released in 2016 and is a comedy film directed by Nicholas Stoller. The film is a sequel to Neighbors (2014). It follows the same couple, Mac and Kelly Radner, who get new neighbors who turn out to be a sorority, which is even more depraved than the fraternity that used to live there.
The film stars Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Zac Efron. The majority of the film’s reviews were positive, and the box office return was also good, sitting at $108.8 million against its $35 million budget.
This film looks at where our characters from Booksmart could end up once they get to college. It is the story of a sorority that decides that they can party just as they like, which, as it seems, is just as much, if not more than any given fraternity.
25. The DUFF
The DUFF, released in 2015, is a teen comedy directed by Ari Sandel. The film is about a high school senior that ignites a revolution against the social pecking order when she learns that she has been given the label of the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by the prettier and more popular girls.
The film stars Mae Whitman, Bella Thorne, and Robbie Amell. Predominantly, the film received positive reviews, with praise going to the screenplay and Whitman and Thorne’s performances.
The film had a box office return of $43.7 million on a budget of $8.5 million. So commercially, it was also a relative success. The film, like Booksmart, looks at the labels that are placed on people, especially teenagers, by their peers and the effects which that has on a person. And thankfully, this film shows us that we can subvert them.
IMDB: Lady Bird
IMDB: Easy A
IMDB: The Fault in Our Stars
IMDB: 13 Going on 30
IMDB: Vampire Academy
IMDB: The Heat
IMD: She’s All That
IMDB: Mean Girls
IMDB: Legally Blonde
IMDB: Love, Simon
IMDB: Paper Towns
IMDB: The Breakfast Club
IMDB: Almost Adults
IMDB: American Pie
IMDB: Eighth Grade
IMDB: Jennifer’s Body
IMDB: The Spy Who Dumped Me
IMDB: The Duff