Do Revenge – Jennifer Kaytin Robinson

Image Credits: Netflix

“My therapist, the beloved Dr. Gratch, says that hurt people hurt people, but I just don’t think that applies to teenage girls. I think sometimes they’re just evil.”

I first heard about Do Revenge while watching a video analysis on Youtube; I was very curious about this new Netflix movie, so I watched it a couple of days later and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It turned out to be quite different from the movie I was expecting to watch and I found the message behind it very meaningful.

Netflix introduced this movie as “a mix between Cruel Intentions and Mean Girls with a nod to Hitchcock” and I think this description perfectly fits the tone and mood of Do Revenge; the movie undoubtedly pays homage to iconic ’90s flicks (it reminded me of other movies I love from that era, such as Clueless, Heathers and Jawbreaker, and this is probably also because fashion plays a significant role in all of them).

Do Revenge belongs to the black comedy genre with a queer element in it. The story revolves around Drea, played by Camila Mendes, who is very powerful at her high school and is considered a it girl (do it girls still exist? I suggest you have a look at the video essay“Why Are There No It Girls Anymore?” by Jordan Theresa on YouTube. It probably explains why this movie is filled with ’90s nostalgia while addressing current issues as well). Things change for Drea when a private video of her gets leaked among the students and it sure looks like her boyfriend Max, who is also very popular, is responsible for it. Eleanor, played by Maya Hawke, is a new student who is rather shy and feels very uncomfortable with having to attend the same school as Clarissa, a girl who once bullied her during summer camp when they were thirteen. Drea and Eleanor form an unusual alliance/friendship, setting up a plan to take revenge on people who have mistreated them. This creates a series of unexpected twists and turns; also, there are many funny moments in the film that convey deeper themes, making the viewer wonder if revenge is really worth it after all. As the girls will find out, revenge most often comes at a price and can lead to bad consequences.

Image Credits: Netflix

Fashion is indeed a part of the movie as well, since it is a vehicle through which the characters express their various personalities. The costumes were designed by Alana Morshead, who took inspiration from iconic teen hits like Gossip Girl when creating a look for the characters. Since they are all attending Rosehill Country Day, a private school, she designed preppy pieces like capes and sweater vests in pastel tones, especially lilac and mint.


The Queen’s Gambit – Netflix Series

The Queen's Gambit.
Watching Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit on my laptop

“Chess isn’t always competitive. Chess can also be beautiful.”

The Queen’s Gambit is a Netflix mini-series created by Scott Frank and Allan Scott and based on the 1983 eponymous novel by Walter Tevis, focusing on the life of a young chess prodigy, from her childhood in an orphanage to her first twenty years.

Beth Armon, the main character, is played by actress Anya Taylor-Joy; Beth finds out about chess thanks to Mr. Shaibel, a janitor in the orphanage where she lives, and they both soon realize her immense talent.

Her life is set in 1960s America (spanning the entire decade) and we get to see all the different sides of her personality. Beth as a child is lonely, introverted and very different from her peers. It is easy to play chess for her, but it is harder to understand how to find her own place in the world.

She seems somehow confused in her relationships with other men, has a loving relationship with her new stepmother (although a bit complicated at first), at some point she develops alcohol and tranquilizer addiction so her path is made of trial and error, rise and decline, while searching for balance and victory.

The story could not exist outside the context where it is set; the events take place against the backdrop of the Cold War and the USA – USSR conflict, enriching the tale with a few political connotations. Beth’s story and that of her dangerous opponent, chess champion Vasily Borgov, brings to mind the 1972 chess game between American player Bobby Fischer and world champion Boris Spasskij.

Image Credits: Netflix

The series title recalls a chess move designed to secure control of the center of the board( “the queen’s gambit”). It is one of the most common chess openings and involves white sacrificing a queen-side pawn.