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Let’s Do a “Do Revenge” Review

By: Emily Counsil and Sophie Sanders

Recently released on Netflix, Do Revenge offers comical insight to high school drama. Rejected by their high schools Drea (Camilla Mendes) and Eleanor (Maya Hawke), decide to enact revenge on their bullies. The star studded cast pulls out all of the stops through the mirrored plot of Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers On A Train. Throughout the film, viewers watch Drea and Eleanor form life bonds, crash, burn, and repeat. 

Drea (Mendes), is first shown at a party thrown in her honor after she was featured in a Teen Vouge video. Her life seems to be going perfect. Soon enough, things take a turn for the worse when her boyfriend asks for an explicit video from her which is subsequently leaked the next day. At school, her friends turn on her, siding with her now ex-boyfriend, and she seems to lose everything she’s worked towards. Eleanor (Hawke) seems to come out of nowhere and she and Drea begin to bond over their ruined lives. Eleanor tells Drea that she will be attending the same school as her in the fall and that she’s dreading seeing her bully, Carissa (Ava Capri). Eleanor shares how she hadn’t come out as queer yet, but she already knew that she liked girls. At a summer camp, she shares this information with Carissa, who the next day starts a rumor of how Eleanor pinned her down and tried to kiss her. Which was simply not the case. Bonding over their shared trauma, the two share a unique bond. 

Eventually, the pair come up with the idea to do each other’s revenge, therefore making themselves seem innocent. Since Eleanor is new to school, no one will put it together that Drea and her know each other. Drea will ruin the life of Carissa, who outed Eleanor and made her into a “lesbian predator.” In return, Eleanor will then ruin the lives of Drea’s ex-boyfriend, Max, as well as the friends who betrayed her. 

The movie plays with the idea of revenge and women empowerment. Throughout the film, viewers watch as Drea and Eleanor become closer and closer to enacting their revenge schemes. In doing these, the two learn more about each other and blossom into a friendship. As the main characters become closer, the audience watches them develop in a meaningful way. The audience begins to understand who Drea and Eleanor really are at the core. Though, in typical girl friendships there is always a double-edged sword. Without spoiling the movie, let’s just say there is more betrayal than what meets the eye. We’ll dive deeper into this in the following paragraphs for those of you who like spoilers. Though, some notable aspects of the film are the hair, costumes, and use of color. 

In the film, Drea’s hair is influenced by many different 90’s icons, such as Kirsten Dunst, Alicia Silverstone, Julia Styles, as well as more modern icons like Dua Lipa or Ariana Grande. Her hair starts out soft and flowing, but as the film progresses, her hair gets tighter and tighter until it is tightly brought up in an updo when she attends the party at the end of the film. This progression of her hair goes hand and hand with her own feelings throughout the film. Drea progresses from a happy person to an angry, vengeful one throughout the course of the film. The angrier Drea is, the tighter her hairstyles become. At the end of the film, when Drea starts to relax again and issues are resolved, her hair returns to that carefree nature that was seen in the beginning. Credits to @catquinn on TikTok for the ideas.

Throughout most of the film, pastel colors are used to create a happy, perfect atmosphere. The school and the people in it are supposed to be seen as perfect. As the film progresses and characters change, colors in the film seem to get darker as well. For example, Eleanor goes from wearing bright blues and yellows, but as new information is revealed about her character, she starts wearing deep reds and blacks and silver. In addition, the film as a whole seems to get darker. In the penultimate scenes of the film, in the house party, the lighting is much darker and darker colors are used to decorate the set. The cast dons deeper shades of colors previously used. This is done to make the audience feel the fear that Drea feels in this final act. The whole atmosphere of the final sequence is dark and almost scary. It’s a complete turn around from the pastel heaven of the beginning of the film.

Before diving deeper about some critiques of the film, this is a warning that the next paragraph contains some spoilers. 

The relationship between the two main characters is exciting to watch. But, it does seem like they forgave and forgot really fast. After all that Eleanor did to Drea and threatened to do, Eleanor just decided to forgive her in the end. This seems highly unrealistic. Eleanor threatened Drea’s mother’s career, hit Drea with a car, and threatened to ruin her whole life. Drea did hurt Eleanor, she outed her and framed her as a predatory person, but she never threatened her life in the way that Eleanor did. It all just seems a little underdeveloped. The big reveal could have happened sooner or the things that Eleanor did could have been not as bad; these would have made their make-up seem a lot more feasible. 

Overall, the film is good, but it could benefit from more character development—specifically with Eleanor. By bringing in some foreshadowing earlier in the film or having the plot twist sooner, Eleanor’s character (and her and Drea’s relationship) would feel more round and complete. If you’re looking for a 90’s inspired comedic drama to casually view, this should be on your to-watch list. 

Hi, I'm Emily! I'm a graduate student studying Rhetoric and Composition and the University of Kansas. Outside of my studies, I enjoy analyzing popular culture and being curled up with my cat on the couch.
Hello! I'm Sophie, I'm a freshman at KU majoring in film and media studies. I love film and tv, my favorite show is Stranger Things and my favorite movie is Empire Records. I love posting my thoughts about different movies and tv shows as well as film as a whole!
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