Do Revenge Parent Guide
This cleverly plotted film raises important issues but smothers them in profanity, drug use, and adolescent sexual activity.
Parent Movie Review
Drea (Camila Mendes) might be a scholarship student from the wrong part of town, but she has made it to the top of the Rosehill student body. She heads an elite clique at the private school, dates eligible Max (Austin Abrams), and has been featured in a Teen Vogue video. Her triumph is the result of years of hard work and the careful creation of a public persona. She plans to go on to Yale and Harvard Law but those dreams come crashing down when a sex video she made for Max gets leaked and goes viral on campus. The enraged young woman punches her new ex, which sees her facing disciplinary action and potentially the end of her academic plans.
Eleanor (Maya Hawke) is a new student at Rosehill, with her own social trauma. Years ago, a girl she thought of as a friend falsely accused her of holding her down and kissing her, landing Eleanor with the reputation of being a lesbian sexual predator. Now she’s at school with the girl who hurt her, and she wants revenge.
Drea and Eleanor get acquainted at tennis camp and eventually realize that they are the solution to each other’s revenge fantasies. Drea can take down Carissa (Avi Capri) and Eleanor can destroy Max. Once their vengeance is complete, both girls will have closure. Or will they?
I’m going to start this review off on a positive note – the storyline is clever. It twists and turns like an angry snake and never lets up on the tension. Do Revenge isn’t the Hitchcock thriller it wants to be, but it’s sharp and well plotted and kept me guessing throughout the entire runtime. It’s not boring, and for a teen movie, that’s saying a lot.
Unfortunately, almost everything else in the script is problematic. The storyline glorifies narcissism, dishonesty, deceit, vindictiveness, and wanton cruelty. There is some attempt at the end of the film to put in a plug for honesty, but the consequences of the protagonists’ bad behavior are minimal. The teens’ social structure is so relentlessly Darwinian that basically any bad behavior is justified by the sheer nastiness of every other student. It’s not spoken aloud, but this is “whataboutism” at its social worst.
Also troubling is the volume of negative content filling the screen. There are close to 100 crude and profane terms in the film and it’s full of substance abuse. The movie features underage teens drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and pot, taking ketamine, snorting cocaine off a woman’s body, and being fed hallucinogenic mushrooms without their knowledge. When the adolescents aren’t experimenting with drugs, they’re experimenting with sex. Straight and lesbian couples kiss passionately and a guy kisses and caresses a girl’s covered breast. There’s also a scene where a teenage girl fakes sexual climax in order to keep her partner busy under the blanket while she’s on her phone. And, of course there’s the sex video that is a key plot element. It’s not seen by the audience, but its existence is part of the sexually exploitative milieu in which Drea lives.
Do Revenge has a lot to say about the sexual objectification of women, structural misogyny, toxic meritocracy, the damage caused by social media, and the risks of revenge. These are topics that are worth investigation, debate, and discussion but we can’t recommend that this film be used as the launchpad for those conversations.Directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson. Starring Maya Hawke, Sophie Turner, Camila Mendes. Running time: 118 minutes. Theatrical release September 16, 2022. Updated September 16, 2022
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Rating & Content Info
Why is Do Revenge rated TV-MA? Do Revenge is rated TV-MA by the MPAA for substances and language.
Violence: A person talks about setting someone’s hair on fire. A main character punches someone in the face. Someone sets a fire in a garbage can. A main character deliberately causes a car accident.
Sexual Content: A main character jokes about masturbation. A clothed teen boy and girl make out: he strokes and kisses her breasts. A guy requests a “little video” from his girlfriend. A teen girl films herself removing her bra: there is no explicit nudity; just a bra seen falling to the ground. A main character describes herself as queer and talks about being falsely accused of predatory sexual behavior. There’s mention of someone leaving a full menstrual cup out in public in protest. Two teens make out on a bed. A photo of a girl in a bra is briefly seen. A teen boy and girl kiss. Two teen girls kiss passionately while lying on the ground. A teen girl and guy are shown in bed together and she fakes a sexual climax.
Profanity: The script is overflowing with profanity, including at least four dozen sexual expletives (and a sexual hand gesture), 16 scatological curses, 36 terms of deity, a handful of minor profanities, and an assortment of crude anatomical terms. Vulgar terms for women are also used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Teenagers smoke marijuana and cigarettes. Teens drink alchohol. Marijuana plants are seen in a greenhouse. High school seniors inadvertently consume psychedelic mushrooms at a school function. The students get high which is treated as comic material. Adolescents use ketamine. A teenager snorts cocaine. Teenagers drink wine from the bottle.
Page last updated September 16, 2022
Do Revenge Parents' Guide
The headmaster tells Drea that she needs to learn to channel her rage. What does Drea do? How do other characters channel their anger? What healthy methods have you found for managing anger?
Related home video titles:
Perhaps the best revenge film ever made is The Sting. Starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman, this classic heist film has a brilliant script and unbreakable tension.
A woman with a painful past takes violent revenge against predatory men in Promising Young Woman.
For more feminist messaging with fewer ethical dilemmas, you can try Moxie, the story of an outraged senior who starts an undercover e-zine.