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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

Easy A

See It Or Skip It: See It

A Laugh Out Of This World Comedy

Easy A is a laugh-out-of-this-world comedy that kicked off the beginning of the last decade and put Emma Stone on the map. Inspired to an extent by The Scarlet Letter, Emma Stone began her global recognition as Olive, an Ojai California high school student whose breaking point with the toxic high school culture of being judged for nonsense leads her to give the entire school a run for the hills.

When Easy A opens, it's clear Olive is invisible. She's not miserable or has any desire to fit in with the immature popular but you can just tell she can't wait to get out of high school. She's quietly awaiting it to end and is just getting by or coasting if you will. How she and Rhiannon (Aly Michalka) became friends prior to the start of the film, I'll never know. She's definitely the more confident and outspoken of the two and has this tremendous energy that's really fun. She's this person Olive sees and talks to every day in and outside school but that doesn't make them friends. What probably happened is that Rhiannon whined about something petty to Olive when she was a stranger and Olive agreed or pretended to agree and from there, Rhiannon stuck around just because. She's not necessarily mean but she's very bossy and very pushy. She needs at least one friend so she can be the alpha, she's just one of those people.

Olive lies to Rhiannon about having a date with a college guy so she can get out of spending the weekend camping with her. On Monday, Rhiannon thinks Olive lost her virginity and Olive lies to avoid coming clean. The devout Christian Maryanne Bryant (Amanda Bynes) overhears the lie and spreads it all over the school. After confessing to a bullied gay classmate that she lied to Rhiannon, she agrees to pretend to have sex with him at a party to stop the bullying. After successfully accomplishing this, Olive has officially gotten a false reputation and after fighting with Rhiannon about it, Olive decides to embrace it and rub it in everyone's faces as a source of power.

She starts dressing more provocatively (Always with an A embroidered on her clothes as she's studying the Scarlet Letter in English class) and letting loser guys who can't get girls lie about sleeping with her in exchange for money and gift cards. Given how stupid the school is, Olive doesn't see how their immaturity has any power to affect her own life but as the lies keep piling up so does the negative treatment she starts to receive.

Stone's performance really captures what it is to get in over your head because you're fed up. She was fed up when the film opened, she just didn't realize how much. The humor she displays is not a persona. It comes from her own personality and without Stone, the film would not have been a success. The significance of the writing was also acclaimed because of how Stone carried out the story.

Easy A was way ahead of its time, especially for a comedy. Easy A was seven years before the Me Too Movement started and what is referred to as slut-shaming was socially acceptable. It still is unfortunately but not in the way it was when Easy A came out. Sexually active women have this entire culture now that rightfully says they don't owe anyone an explanation and asks if single men can have constantly active sex lives without society calling them sexually explicit names, why can't women?

It's great that Olive has no shame when others tear her down but that confidence was constructed on a lie. It's realizing that mixed in with the sudden increase in verbal assaults that starts to wreck her. Things resolve themself in the end as most comedy often does but Easy A makes this look like a victory as opposed to just being predictable. Olive still has this new confidence and it now comes from a place of honesty. Her whole world knows it now but what was most important is that she knew who she was and that she was happy with who she was and who she's becoming.

None of us are ever entirely who we are when we first start really living in the real world which can be so complicated and ugly and messed up. Many people think high school isn't the real world but it is. For many, it's corrupt, degrading, and leaves you with scars, some of them if you're lucky you can block out but the specifics of what happened and what that did will never leave you. The big specifics of my last year of high school weren't Olivia's specifics but the love/hate relationship she had with herself because of what happened to her felt very familiar to me.

I saw Easy A way before my last year of high school and the film empowered me more because of it. Easy A is extraordinarily funny but also real comfort film that I constantly go back to that makes me laugh and smile but also makes me feel represented and at home in my own skin. It's YOUR relationship with yourself and your body and your feelings towards sex during these informative years that matter, not anybody else's. The invasive entitlement that people in these schools have in thinking they have the right to know everything about everyone and that you have sexual feelings gives them the right to invade your private life and in the worst cases, invade your body isn't ok. You're worth more than that, your body is worth more than that.

Self-worth comes from you. You don't need validation from other people to have it because it's not about what other people think of you, it's what you think of you and that sense of empowerment goes out the window forever when these vultures start circling. Through her humor and intelligence, Olive was able to crawl out of it before it got much worse and that beautiful relationship with yourself is what Easy A is all about. Easy A remains a very personal and very empowering comedy that always makes me howl with laughter every time I see it and that's all I want for those of you that see it, whether that be for the first time or the 100th.

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