Photos by Netflix/Jennifer K Robinson
This article contains spoilers for “Do Revenge” (2022).
We’ve seen movies about queen bees, revenge on the male cheater, and unexpectedly falling in love; the movies dearest to our (or at least my) young hearts almost always incorporate at least one of these tropes. While watching Netflix’s “Do Revenge,” we see all of these tropes and more as it pays homage to iconic 90s and early 2000s rom-coms. In the dawn of queer rom-coms, “Do Revenge” provides a Gen Z take on these classic movies while also introducing its own unpredictable twist.
The plot follows Drea Torres, played by Camila Mendes, the school’s It-Girl who falls from her throne after her boyfriend Max, played by Austin Abrams, leaks a video of a strip tease that he had asked her to send. Drea teams up with the new girl Eleanor Levetan, played by Maya Hawke, who has also been wronged by someone at school. Together, the two plot revenge against those who hurt them.
When first watching the film, it’s easy to notice the subtle references to teen movies we all know — the most notable being “Mean Girls.” Drea can be seen as the “Regina” of the school as she easily manipulates others who try to impair her image and get in the way of her dream of getting into an Ivy League school. We see her fall from her reign early on in the movie, and as Eleanor slowly starts liking her popularity more than she or Drea had expected, we see a Regina-Cady dynamic between the two protagonists: the new It-Girl begins to overpower the original Queen Bee.
There are more “Mean Girl” references sprinkled throughout the movie as we hear students’ commentary on the popular “royal court” and how they’d love to be them and/or be with them. The most notable is when Drea and Eleanor drug their whole class and stand in the middle of the crowd watching the chaos as all of them trip on mushrooms, which parallels Regina’s act of releasing the Burn Book.
You also see more subtle, maybe accidental references to other classics. One could say the main plot takes on one similar to “John Tucker Must Die,” as Drea and her new sidekick Eleanor team up to take down Max, who all the girls adore.
Eleanor, similar to Kate (the protagonist of “John Tucker Must Die”), turns from lonely new girl to the It-Girl after Drea gives her the classic makeover. Eleanor then must seduce the enemy, but eventually falls for Max’s less popular sibling — who in this case happens to be a hot twin sister named Gabbi, played by Talia Ryder. One could also argue that the paint scene between Drea and her new love interest pays a sweet homage to “10 Things I Hate About You.”
The movie seems familiar with all these commonalities and for the first half, most things are predictable: people happen to fall in love, unexpected friendships are made, the revenge plot is created and then is compromised. However, the movie takes a sharp turn and becomes more than just another rom-com as we learn that Eleanor isn’t who she seemed to be. She is instead a conniving genius who has set up her own revenge on Drea since the very beginning.
While some may worry that the main queer character is painted as vengeful and obsessed, I believe Eleanor to be more nuanced. She had a valid villain origin story, and while executing her plan, she was so masterful and confident that she became more impressive than fearful. Drea served as a great contrast to Eleanor — they both did some pretty harmful things and the end gave both of them a fair redemption arc.
Heartfelt and relatable messages in this film show the harmful effects of how we treat people in developmental parts of our lives. We also see the capability of people to learn and change, and while there is some backstabbing between Drea and Eleanor, the movie ends by showcasing the beauty of their friendship. Together they become a powerful duo who help break down the toxic culture of the popular crowd, while finding happiness within their own lives.
Overall, the movie is definitely one worth a watch. If the soft colorful aesthetic doesn’t pull you in, the music might. The soundtrack includes songs most would recognize, like Olivia Rodrigo’s “brutal” and MUNA and Phoebe Bridgers’ “Silk Chiffon.”
The cast is also familiar with stars from “Euphoria,” “13 Reasons Why,” and “Outer Banks.” Along with the main characters of Maya Hawke and Camila Mendes, we also see fun cameos from actors like Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sophie Turner, who gave the hilariously dramatic line “I don’t even DO cocaine…I don’t even know what it LOOKS LIKE,” from the film. Even Olivia Colman has an interesting cameo in the form of a well-dressed lizard.
The only complaint I had of the movie was the undeniable chemistry between Drea and Eleanor. Before the release of the movie, some parts of the trailer made it appear to be a story of two girls falling in love while plotting revenge. After becoming close friends and then slowly becoming enemies, the strong tension between them seemed to brew up a chance of love between the two, so I was surprised to see Drea’s new love interest being a British biker named Russ, played by Rish Shah.
However, Eleanor’s relationship with Gabbi is just as satisfying. Gabbi meets Eleanor early on while giving her a school tour and she makes it clear that she has always liked Eleanor for who she is. The two make a very cute couple and even get a sweet kissing scene in the end credits.
“Do Revenge” brings old rom-com tropes and merges them with Gen Z paraphernalia to create a funny and newly iconic movie. So the next time you’re looking for a chill movie with a sprinkle of queer romance, consider watching Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke in “Do Revenge.”
Author: Maya Parra (She/Her)
Copy Editors: Emma Blakely (They/She/He), Bella (She/They)