Shooting their dog protagonists in often exquisitely intimate close-ups of grizzled maws, fleshy gums, and weathered paw pads, the filmmakers foreground their curious status as semi-wild beasts that subsist both in the middle and at the margins of human society.
To begin with, designed as a one-director anthology film, it picks up and disposes of various narrative threads rather than staying with the same plotline or plotlines (or absence of plot) throughout. Secondly, it depends almost not at all on real-time duration to fill itself out.
In exploring love, sex, death, and adultery this way, screenwriters Garrel and legendary screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere adequately probe the meandering contours of relationships and commitment, as well as the elusive nature of monogamy and desire.
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.