Arts and Entertainment

“Do Revenge” Is a Breath of Fresh Air

“Do Revenge” is a snappy teen drama and a social commentary on current issues.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

“Do Revenge” is Netflix’s newest drama-ridden teen movie, featuring popular girl Drea Torres (Camila Mendes) and social outcast Eleanor Levetan (Maya Hawke), who team up to take revenge on each other’s enemies. From over the top pastel outfits to snappy one-liners, “Do Revenge” sets a new precedent for teen movies with its important message to viewers while managing to produce Pinterest-worthy screencaps.

Drea’s high school life is anything but the glitz and glamor shown onscreen: her “it girl” façade is a defense mechanism that allows her to fit in at her posh school despite her humble background. Things go awry when her boyfriend, high school golden boy Max (Austin Abrams), leaks an explicit video of her to the whole school, pushing Drea to look for a way to retaliate and destroy Max’s reputation. When Drea meets Eleanor at a summer tennis camp, they quickly become friends and vow to take down each other’s enemies.

Under Drea’s tutelage, Eleanor climbs to the top of the high school’s social hierarchy and infiltrates Drea’s former friend group, all in the hopes of exposing Max’s true character. Meanwhile, Drea plots to take down Eleanor’s childhood crush, Carissa (Ava Capri), who Eleanor claims outed her by spreading a rumor that she held her down and tried to kiss her. This disastrous love story juxtaposes Drea’s budding relationship with Carissa’s best friend, Russ.

An homage to the teen dramas of the ‘90s and 2000s, “Do Revenge” combines all of the beloved aspects of its predecessors: extravagant queen bees, campy costumes, and problematic makeovers, elevated by a touch of modernity to appeal to today’s teens. Not only is the tour of the school’s cliques at the beginning of the film a nod to “Mean Girls” (2004), but the outfits draw inspiration from “Clueless” (1995). Additionally, Rosehill’s Horowitz Hall is a clear homage to Cher’s surname. The pastel plaid skirts and ties, metallic-mini dresses, ruffled tops, and excessive floral prints are simultaneously modern and vintage, building on the film’s “Y2K” aesthetic.

The soundtrack of “Do Revenge” is also an eclectic fusion of both nostalgic and contemporary songs. “Do Revenge” features ‘90s songs like Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” (1998) and Meredith Brooks’s “Bitch” (1997), as well as modern hits such as Olivia Rodrigo’s “brutal” (2021) and “Happier Than Ever” (2021) by Billie Eilish. The songs from different eras juxtapose well with each other to demonstrate the inspiration the movie draws from iconic teen movies, as well as the new direction it forges.

The issues covered in the film ring true today more than ever: cyber safety, privacy, performative activism, and bullying are all explored with masterful acting. Viewers see both Drea and Eleanor break down about their relatable battles with the high school hierarchy, and the challenges that come with having to balance social dynamics with their own unique ambitions. Likewise, when Drea expresses intense rage at her rejection from Yale, viewers can empathize with her frustration, as many also struggle with the fear that their hard work will not pay off. Additionally, when Max attempts to restore his public image by creating the CIS Hetero Men Championing Female Identifying Students League, it is obvious he is doing so for social capital, highlighting the hypocrisy in his cruel treatment of Drea. The film also raises issues of class and privilege, depicting how easily the wealthy go unpunished for their actions. Drea herself points out that it will be far easier to take down Carissa than Max given his wealth, popularity, race, and gender.

“Do Revenge” is one of the better teen movies Netflix has released, with its fun ‘90s references and message of taking responsibility for your mistakes. The movie tackles themes such as privilege and friendship dynamics effectively and sincerely, making “Do Revenge” a worthwhile and entertaining watch.