Instead of tracing the more settled trajectory of the film—a gradual fall from grace to match the early passage from unfettered youth to straitened middle age—it seems more apropos to focus on his ecstatic cinematic orchestrations, which are, not to put too fine a point on it, the main attraction.
There is a missed opportunity by Wilde and the screenwriters to deploy sharper satire that pokes fun at Molly and Amy’s limited outlook as white, woke-ish teenagers. This is too bad, since the whole conceit of Booksmart is that these friends think they know more than they actually do.
This might seem to suggest a bit of a creative about-face, for Happy Hour, running a bit over five hours, was not precisely a commercial proposition, but in fact Asako I & II, in the space of two incident-heavy hours, works in every bit as much feeling and active intelligence as its predecessor.
Rafiki was banned by the Kenya Film Classification Board ahead of its Cannes premiere in 2018, yet it was not erotic content that unnerved those in power and triggered censorship. Instead, it was her compassionate handling of the young love between Kena Mwaura and Ziki Okemi.
There is some satisfaction that comes in seeing motifs and symbols established within the first part of the film as they re-emerge in the galvanizing high-wire act performance of the second, though I am unconvinced that the seeding of these symmetries can entirely justify the moribund experience of what has preceded.