In an article about the film Do Revenge the two protagonists look on
Illustration by Julia Reddell, George Fox University

‘Do Revenge’ Is Gen Z’s ‘Mean Girls’

The film offers a witty subversion of the stereotypical high school revenge drama, updated for the 2020s.

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In an article about the film Do Revenge the two protagonists look on
Illustration by Julia Reddell, George Fox University

The film offers a witty subversion of the stereotypical high school revenge drama, updated for the 2020s.

Do Revenge,” starring Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke  is a movie that I first found out about through TikTok. It’s been a minute so I don’t remember which ones, but one had to do with the gay character, Eleanor, and another was a scene discussing people possibly faking celiac disease. I stored the movie in the back of my brain for about a month, and returned to it. When I did, I noticed that the movie was a 97% match to my preferences according to Netflix, and I decided that I absolutely had to watch it. I was right. 

The movie focuses on two main characters: Drea, the popular girl who seemingly has the ideal life and Eleanor, who seems as if she just wants to make a friend. In 10 minutes, I was hooked. I was excited to see Camila Mendes play the mean girl. I think it’s a part that she plays quite well. The plot had me hooked instantly. Drea’s boyfriend, Max, leaks a sex tape of her that he convinced her to make before their summer separation. The video is sent to everyone at school and Drea decks him in the face. As a result, she is put on probation at school and must do community service. 

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge Intro

The plot thickens when Maya Hawke’s character, Eleanor, meets Drea at summer camp. Eleanor immediately tries to make friends with Drea, who quickly responds with “I don’t need your pity” after telling her who sent the sex tape to everyone at camp. When Drea’s car is unable to start, Eleanor offers her a ride. They start talking and viewers learn that Eleanor is transferring to Drea’s high school. Eleanor tells Drea about Carissa, who apparently outed Eleanor and made her out to be a predator who held her down and tried to kiss her. After Max, Drea’s now ex-boyfriend, makes a spectacle of the whole situation by publicly apologizing in a performative way, the two decide that they will play out each other’s revenge. Eleanor will make Max pay for what he did to Drea and Drea will make Carissa pay for what she did to Eleanor. 

I won’t spoil the rest of the movie, but I will say that it is worth watching. “Do Revenge” is a very quotable movie, with lines like: “I flew too close to the sun, so my boyfriend leaked my sex tape  and “You look like you want a grilled cheese.” There were times when I had to pause the movie, rewind it and replay what had just been said because I needed to make sure that I heard what I heard. I’m sure there’s a lot that I didn’t catch. 

“Do Revenge” takes plot points and tropes popularized by “Mean Girls” (where the main character plots against the popular girls by pretending to be friends with them) and adds a Gen-Z flair. The movie is bonkers. From the first scene, we are transported to a world of socialites. Drea’s face is on the cupcakes and there’s booze everywhere. Initially, I thought these characters were in college, but it turns out they’re barely juniors in high school. The movie ends with a lavish party where there are people playing violins, partying, fighting, drinking and dancing, and their phones are taken at the front door. Unsurprisingly, this does little to reflect the average American’s high school experience. 

However, the movie redeems itself in spite of this superficiality. The two main characters are both going through adolescence and on top of that, their reputations have been destroyed. Do Revenge is tender in some places. I especially love the quote in which Eleanor says to Drea: “You don’t have to be brave with me. This sucks.” As a viewer, that was something I needed to hear. It’s intensely relatable. 

The movie is acutely aware of itself, especially when there’s a makeover scene and exchange between Drea and Eleanor. “This feels problematic,” Eleanor, who is about to be given a makeover, says. “It is but it’s fun,” Drea responds. This is playing off of the movie trope that a girl’s life can only change once she gets a makeover. The movie also plays with stereotypes in the beginning when the school’s cliques are mentioned. Instead of “the geeks, the jocks, the preps,” it’s “the zodiac thots, the horny theater kids and the farm kids.” This description of their peers revamps the classic high school movie tropes for a Gen-Z audience. 

Another thing I like about the movie is that there are twists and turns to it. Once viewers think they have found a resolution, the movie takes a wild turn. Soon, all of the characters are at their wit’s end. Viewers even begin to rethink what they thought of the characters at first. I realized that all of the characters were kind of terrible and I loved it because of how true it can be. 

I won’t tell you that this movie is groundbreaking per se or that everyone absolutely must watch it. What I will say is if someone has a few hours to kill, this movie is a perfect way to do that. 

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