In Theatres: 
Mar 09, 2018
Running Time: 
92 minutes

Thoroughbreds is the ambitious directorial debut of writer and director Cory Finley, and on the opposite end of the spectrum it’s also the final film of Anton Yelchin, who tragically died in a freak accident at his home just two weeks after filming. A dark and twisted drama with a hint of comedy sprinkled in, Thoroughbreds ingrains itself in your head and never leaves.


The affluent teen Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) reluctantly agrees to tutor her old elementary school friend Amanda (Olivia Cooke), who’s been deemed as weird following an incident involving a horse’s death. Lily’s just in it for the money from her parents, however, but the two eventually start to grow on each other although not in any good way. Lily hates her step-father and after learning that Amanda feels no emotions either good or bad, she asks Amanda to help organize a plan to kill him. After recruiting the much older drug dealer Tim (Anton Yelchin), the two girls actually think they have a solid enough strategy to get away with the murder. That is, of course, if everything goes according to plan.


There’s an intimacy with Thoroughbreds that’s difficult to get with other movies in that the majority of the film takes place in Lily’s mansion involving only and handful of characters so you really get to know everyone quite well. I wouldn’t call the relationship between Lily and Amanda a friendship, but more of a fascination with each other. Because Amanda feels no emotions, she just straight up doesn’t care about anything so that frees her to say exactly what is on her mind at all times. This both fascinates and scares Lily, who’s more of your standard snobby teenage girl. Both Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke play their roles wonderfully. Cooke’s creepy on the outside as she isn’t afraid to tell Lily how she fakes emotions, like how she can cry on command, to fit in. Yet it’s Taylor-Joy who’s the psychopath in the film as despite her bubbly persona she wants to kill her step-father. It’s her behavior that’s truly disturbing.


I loved Anton Yelchin’s performance as well. He’s more over-the-top and his character brings most of the comedy to the film, but you can see that he’s putting everything he has into the role. It’s a wonderful performance, and it only makes me sad that we’ll never see what else he might have done since he was still just at the beginning of what was bound to be an amazing career.


Thoroughbreds is delightfully dark and a fun although disturbing watch at times. The characters are brilliant and the story is constantly evolving. I enjoyed that it didn’t go down the stereotypical route of having Amanda discover that she actually does feel something thanks to Lily. It’s very much Lily’s story, with Amanda and Tim being just a part of it. Cory Finley knocks it out of the park with his debut, and I’m looking forward to seeing whatever he does next.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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