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A 2018 Netflix film starring Sami Gayle, Jacob Latimore, Christina Hendricks, Helen Hunt, and Uzo Aduba.

Tropes

  • Academic Alpha Bitch: If you believe Lona's mom, Bennett's mother fell into this when she was young. If not, she was probably more of a Teen Genius like her son.
  • Alpha Bitch: Lona's mother Amy is said to have been this, although she's gotten significantly sweeter since that point in time.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Maybe not quite evil, but definitely a flaw. Lona and Bennett are both highly intelligent and determined academics with clear paths to Ivy League colleges, which the film portrays as unhealthy because of how much they let their grades consume their lives. Especially prevalent with Lona, whose low-class background would normally make it all the more important that she succeed in school; instead, she is portrayed as callous and mechanical for being so driven.
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  • Arch-Enemy: Lona to Bennett, and vice versa. Also applies to their mothers, who jab at each other throughout the film. Both rivalries abate by the end.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Averted. Lona's a sensible, mature straight-A student who'd rather stay up all night studying than let loose at a party. This goes on to the point that her former Alpha Bitch mother jokes that she'd rather have a daughter who was a little more like herself.
  • Femininity Failure: Lona isn't ugly, but she's not exactly a supermodel either, which is a slight source of frustration for her mother.
  • Friendless Background: Lona, who in her pursuit of extracurriculars and AP classes to get into Harvard, has failed to build relationships with her peers. Bennett points this out to her, saying that they missed out on the fun of high school.
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  • Go-Getter Girl: Played straight with Lona.
  • Geeky Turn-On: A lot of the tension between Lona and Bennett is shown in the academia-focused scenes where they're debating each other.
  • High-School Sweethearts: Lona and Bennett. Who knew, right?
  • Jock Dad, Nerd Son: The rare female equivalent. Lona's mother was a gorgeous, athletic popular girl, and Lona herself is a feisty overachiever.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Lona's a good girl, sure, but she's got plenty of sass to go around.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Rivals!: Julia and Amy’s bickering at the state qualifiers, which alarms the judges and keeps Bennett and Lona from advancing to the next round. Allegedly.
  • Odd Friendship: Lona and Bennett hated each other up until the climax of the movie, where they grudgingly realise they have more in common than they thought.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Kathy, the guidance counselor who the two leads confide in and gives sound advice to their issues.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Lona plays a snarky, hot-headed Red Oni to Bennett's smoother, more calculating Blue.
  • School Clubs Are Serious Business: Lona and Bennett take the debate club seriously and fight over who can be president, despite being the only two members.
  • Technician vs. Performer: Lona and Bennett as the technicians who just want to win and speed-read through every round with hard facts. The team they compete against functions as the performers from a less wealthy high school who draw emotional arguments from personal experiences.
  • Teen Genius: Lona and Bennett are witty and ridiculously intelligent - they're both four-time qualifiers for national debate championships and get into Yale and Harvard respectively at the end of the movie.
  • Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: Subverted. In this movie, youth is actually wasted on the smart: the protagonists have good grades, sure, but they haven't actually enjoyed much of their lives until they met each other.
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