'Thoroughbreds' review - an intriguing character study on how the other half lives

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Being a teenage girl isn't easy and Thoroughbreds proves, beautifully and hauntingly, just how far you can push one.

Cory Finley’s Thoroughbreds is a dark comedy about two teenage girls who rekindle their unlikely quasi-friendship when Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) decides she wants to kill her admittedly-irritating step-dad. The characters themselves were by far the most interesting part of the film, with Amanda (Olivia Cooke) as the emotionless and tactless sidekick, and Lily as the headstrong and emotional leader.

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Lily is forced, with the addition of a few hundred dollars, by Amanda’s mother to take on her ex-best friend for a tutoring session, which Lily lies about and says she’s not getting paid for. When Lily gets aggravated by Amanda’s non-compliance, a rather one-sided argument ensues, and Lily discovers that her friend truly has no emotions and cannot be offended. From there on out, an uneasy friendship begins. Lily later reveals that she doesn’t have a great relationship with her aloof step-father (Paul Sparks) and Amanda suggests murdering him, causing yet another argument.

The story is slow to get started due to the fact that it is blatantly a concentrated character study, and it feels as if Finley thought of the storyline as an afterthought. It leaves the audience somewhat disappointed at the end of the film, and if not for the development of Amanda’s character, this film would have been extremely lacklustre and displeasing.

There were only four main characters in the film, and this was executed strongly. Along with the murderous duo and the step-father, there was the unlikely mercenary Tim, played by the sadly departed Anton Yelchin. This casting choice caused a few murmurs among the audience, and it was odd seeing Yelchin outside of his usual surroundings of the helm of the USS Enterprise.

Lily’s seemingly scatter-brained mother, (Francie Swift) was pointedly absent throughout the film, only appearing in a sunbed and on a spa day, further adding to Lily’s sense of isolation within her own family. Karen acted only as a conduit for our understanding of Lily’s situation, with a similar role being played by Amanda’s mother, Karen (Kaili Vernoff).

Overall, Thoroughbreds was an alluring look into the mindsets of upper-class teens in modern America but was let down by its uninspired and sometimes plot-holed story. The film was an easy watched but doesn’t leave audiences eager to discuss or recommend the film, as it so easily could have been with a few tweaks to the plot.

Photo credits: Youtube / Zero Media


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