Four years ago today, Booksmart was released in theaters. It is a wildly funny film about two high school seniors who are given one last chance to have fun before they graduate. Arguably, Booksmart’s main appeal is the charm of its two main characters who are not only funny but brilliant and big-hearted. Beanie Feldstein, who plays Molly, absolutely shines in this role.
Beanie Feldstein is an American actor who has exploded into stardom over the last few years. Her breakout role was in 2017, when she played Saoirse Ronan’s best friend Julie in Ladybird. Directed by Greta Gerwig, this film was a sweeping success. Though the plot centers around Ladybird, Beanie’s performance as her loyal and charming best friend brought a new level of sweetness and sensitivity to the story.
Following her role in Ladybird, Beanie’s career skyrocketed. In 2019, she starred in the highly-anticipated comedy Booksmart, directed by Olivia Wilde. Playing the role of Molly, Beanie showcased her exceptional talent with her comedic timing, wit, and heartfelt portrayal of this high-achieving teenager on the brink of graduation.
Beanie showcased her exceptional talent with her comedic timing, wit, and heartfelt portrayal of this high-achieving teenager on the brink of graduation.
As with Ladybird, Booksmart also shows Beanie demonstrating an ability to connect deeply with her co-stars, portraying friendship with an almost unparalleled authenticity. In a review of Booksmart, FF2 contributor Katusha Jin states, “the chemistry between Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever is sweet, which keeps the audience rooting for them.”
Beanie’s range does not stop at the funny best friend, however. In 2021, she took on the challenging role of Monica Lewinsky in Impeachment: American Crime Story. The role required navigating a complex and emotionally charged character, and Beanie rose to the occasion with grace and nuance. In the show, she delves into the depths of Monica’s experiences, capturing her vulnerability, strength, and resilience in the face of intense public scrutiny.
Beanie’s talent is also not limited to the screen; she has also played two roles on Broadway. Beanie made her Broadway debut in 2017, playing Minnie Fay opposite Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly!
In 2022, she starred in the revival of Funny Girl as Fanny Brice. Beanie received some criticism for the show, mainly because the way she played the role marked a distinct departure from the widely-loved original performance by Barbra Streisand. However, there’s no denying that Beanie created a fresh and vibrant Fanny Brice, infused with her own wit, comedic timing, and heart.
In my review of her performance back in 2022, I emphasized that “Beanie as Fanny was absolutely magnetic. She radiated so much joy and charisma that watching her was a delight. Her physicality was impressive to say the least: somehow, though she danced clumsily, you didn’t want to take your eyes off of her.”
Beanie has some incredible roles lined up, including in Richard Linklater’s film adaptation of Merrily We Roll Along, which will film over the course of 20 years. Beanie Feldstein is one of the most talented and exciting actors of her generation, and she’s only getting started.
© Julia Lasker (5/24/2023) FF2 Media
LEARN MORE/DO MORE
Read Julia Lasker’s review of Beanie Feldstein’s Fanny Brice here.
Read Sophia Jin’s review of Booksmart here.
CREDITS & PERMISSIONS
Featured photo: BOOKSMART 2019 United Artists film with Beanie Feldstein. Photo courtesy of Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo.