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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Senate Council holds final meeting of semester, recaps recent events
By Anna Kuntz, Senior Staff Writer • May 14, 2024
Column | A thank you to student journalists
By Betul Tuncer, Editor-in-Chief • April 27, 2024

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A portrait of Chancellor Joan Gabel.
Senate Council holds final meeting of semester, recaps recent events
By Anna Kuntz, Senior Staff Writer • May 14, 2024
Column | A thank you to student journalists
By Betul Tuncer, Editor-in-Chief • April 27, 2024

Review: ‘Bottoms’ is a lesbian movie that’s not emotionally exhausting

%E2%80%9CBottoms%E2%80%9D+movie+poster.%0A
IMBd Screenshot.
“Bottoms” movie poster.

After decades of films that end in tragedy and leave gay women around the world walking out of theaters in tears, lesbians finally have their “Superbad” — and it’s the most entertaining movie of the year. 

Bottoms,” directed by Emma Seligman and starring Ayo Edebiri as Josie and Rachel Sennott as PJ, follows the story of two “ugly, untalented gays” who start an all-girls fight club in high school to try and hook up with hot cheerleaders. It’s raunchy, shocking, bloody and at no moment does it ever take itself too seriously. 

The script is quick and witty, with jokes coming so quickly that at moments my screening missed some because we were still laughing at the last one, but the dialogue doesn’t fall into the trap of being dated. The snappy 92-minute runtime leaves no room for any lulls, and if anything it leaves the audience wanting more. What makes the film so memorable, though, are its stars. 

Edebiri delivers a 90-minute master class in comedic delivery –– what were already funny scenes are elevated even further, purely because of how she speaks and the facial expressions she makes. Edebiri and Sennott work off of each other with chemistry that rivals some of the most famous comedic duos of all time. 

The supporting characters, including Ruby Cruz as Hazel, Havana Rose Liu as Isabel and Marshawn Lynch as Mr. G, round out the cast and are scene-stealers in their own right. Cruz’s portrayal of Hazel is the most understated performance as one of the most consistently funny characters of the entire film, in large part due to her dry and unassuming delivery of the weirdest lines in the movie. 

The movie is undeniably absurd, but it’s always in on the joke. Classes last just long enough for characters to have a conversation that moves the plot forward, and actual swords are used in the final climactic “battle.” It feels like at every turn, “Bottoms” strays as far away as possible from the classic “gay film” tropes — seriousness, sadness and characters that the audience always pities. 

In fact, Josie and PJ are often distinctly in the wrong. They mislead girls and use feminism as a way to make out with hot cheerleaders. They are superficial and mean to girls they think are ugly, and lie about going to juvie to impress said hot girls. They are downright stupid and so unaware of themselves that it’s hard to ever feel bad for them — but that’s exactly why the film works. 

Lesbians aren’t perfect and pitiful people who never do anything wrong. Our media landscape has evolved past the need for every portrayal of a gay person to be constantly positive. Why can’t Josie and PJ be the menaces that Michael Cera and Jonah Hill are in “Superbad”?

“Bottoms” is the type of movie I wish I had as a teenager. It’s a lesbian high school comedy that is rooted in queer culture but also isn’t afraid to make fun of it. Even though the whole premise is two lesbians trying to hook up with girls, Josie and PJ aren’t ever fully defined by their lesbianism. In fact, the consistently awful decisions they make throughout the entire film are more memorable than their sexualities. 

The timelessness of the setting was certainly done on purpose, and it cements “Bottoms” as an instant high school cult classic. Smartphones (and anything else that could date the movie to 2023) are noticeably absent, and the clothing choices feel more character-based than trend-based.

I saw “Bottoms” on opening night in a theater full of visibly queer people, and it was the most fun moviegoing experience I’ve ever had — including seeing “Barbie” and “Infinity War” on opening nights. Everything about the film makes it clear that it was helmed by queer people, down to its often inappropriate and offensive jokes, some variations of which I’ve heard my own friends utter

“Bottoms” feels like the beginning of a new age of queer media, one where coming out and homophobia aren’t the main two driving points of the story. There is absolutely a space for media that portrays coming out, but it’s just as necessary to tell stories without coming out scenes that make the viewer cry. 

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a lesbian movie that didn’t leave me emotionally exhausted, and I can’t wait to see what the success of “Bottoms” means for the queer stories that come after it. 

About the Contributor
Ryleigh Lord, News Editor
Ryleigh Lord is the head news editor at The Pitt News. She is a junior history and English writing major with an Irish minor. She also contributes to the culture desk, mostly to talk about the shows and movies she loves. In her free time, she's usually cheering on Arsenal WFC despite their best efforts to break her spirit. You can contact her at [email protected]