Thoroughbreds, a 2017 film the critics loved at the time, is currently steaming on Hulu. It stars Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy. High ratings, great women-led cast, I should love it right? Nope. Didn’t love it.
With two bright young talents like Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy in Thoroughbreds, why couldn’t I get into it?
Here’s the whole story, with spoilers. Two rich, privileged white teenage girls got together after not seeing each other for a few years. They had been best friends as children. Amanda (Olivia Cooke) claimed to feel no emotion of any kind. She could imitate any emotion, but not feel it.
Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) felt things. The thing she felt the most was hatred for her over-controlling stepfather, Mark (Paul Sparks).
The title reflects the excellent breeding of the rich girls in “good” homes. Plus there was a horse involved. Don’t forget the horse.
The two girls were wooden, detached. They were about as human as a couple of Lego characters who hadn’t yet been animated by Warner Brothers. The dialog was strange and sparse. The delivery was stylized and vacant.
Now, I know that the two actors were merely doing what the director Cory Finley told them to do. And I know their stylized, wooden, acting was supposed to mean something, say something. Maybe it did. As I mentioned, the critics who reviewed it in 2017 raved about it. I found it annoying and not human.
The two girls were supposed to be spending the summer studying for college entrance exams. Instead they spent it talking about ways to kill the stepfather. As they interacted, it became clear that the nonfeeling Amanda was actually compassionate. The supposedly feeling Lily was a genuine psychopath.
They tried to get a hapless loser named Tim (Anton Yelchin) to kill Mark for them. They offered him a ton of money. That didn’t work out well.
Okay, maybe I will withhold some spoilers, because I’m not going to tell you how they ended up looking like this or who took the rap for slaughtering dear old Mark. I have to admit, that part was a surprise.
This film is streaming now, should you want to take a look and decide for yourself what you think of it. Maybe you saw it 6 years ago and remember loving it. Let me know in the comments.