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Shameful Women and Creative Cruelty: ‘Do Revenge’ (2022) Review

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

“For girls, our bodies, our choices, our thoughts are all policed by shame.”

Intimacy can be a dangerous game at any age. When we let ourselves believe that the ones we keep close have our best interests at heart, we have a chance to get hurt. Do Revenge was recently released on Netflix and is currently trending on the platform; the above quote is uttered midway through the film, hitting the nail on the head of one of the film’s major themes.

Do Revenge centers on Drea (Camila Mendes) and Eleanor (Maya Hawke) as they decide to inflict their wrath upon those who have betrayed their loyalty and destroyed their reputations. The film shows that, as women existing in a Western social context alongside the accessibility of the internet, it doesn’t take long for people to turn on you, especially when it involves the decisions you make surrounding your body and sexuality.

My therapist once told me that the feeling of guilt is “I did something bad,” whereas shame is thinking the wrongful actions are descriptive of your nature and therefore saying, “I am bad.” With the rise of voices like Andrew Tate and the overturning of Roe V. Wade, women and others with a uterus are publicly policed, punished and forced to feel shame for their agency. But what if a woman doesn’t believe she’s done something bad? All Drea did was send her boyfriend a sexy video per his request. However, due to her lower economic status among her rich prep school peers, Drea is expected to internalize her shame. In spite of the loss of her status, she dives head-on into this image of a “bad girl” in order to do bad things to others.

Alternatively, Eleanor is a queer woman who was wronged by a friend that branded her a gay predator, a serious stigma often weaponized against the gay community. Eleanor makes an important distinction that being outed is one thing, but for people to forever see you as a threat from age 13 is another. Together, these women channel their betrayals as forms of empowerment and though they may not be the perfect images of what a woman, or even a friend, should aspire to be, that’s okay!

Rather than depicting these characters as “Mary Sues,” lacking flaws in order to be an exemplary image of femininity, Do Revenge portrays an incredibly fun, mysterious roller coaster of two women dedicated to raising the bar of lunacy in each scene. Both actresses do a great job at tackling the range of emotions this script requires, but I won’t lie, I did see too much chemistry between the leads for that not to be the film’s intention.

Additionally, it’s exciting to see a movie set in high school for no other reason than it needs to be! Euphoria received tremendous criticism for having teen characters in increasingly adult and gratuitous situations, with many saying it could have taken place in college. However, Do Revenge understands the intensity of high school and social cliques, the desperation to be liked and accepted by your peers and your dream university and the erratic nature of girls figuring out how to be good people while still acknowledging their rage.

While intimacy can lead to pain and betrayal, it can also lead to growth, repentance and self-awareness, which is what the coming-of-age genre is all about. And even if you’re not the best person, maybe there’s a “fucked-up soulmate” out there for you!* Check out Do Revenge with your friends to enjoy some nuanced portrayals of young women navigating the complicated arenas of sexuality, friendship and creative bitchiness.

*This is a joke, please try to be a good person.

Ariana Martinez (they/them) is a Florida-based freelance writer and filmmaker currently pursuing a degree in cinema studies. Their work gravitates toward explorations of gender and sexuality in film and T.V and they have a Youtube channel and website, Awake in the A.M., dedicated to film analysis. In their free time, they enjoy traveling and yelling at the t.v. with their friends.
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