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“Bottoms”: a bizarre, raunchy teen comedy that’s not afraid to be gay

Emma Seligman’s “Bottoms” is the chaotic, hilarious and unapologetically gay representation that LGBTQ+ youth deserve.

I watched “Bottoms” with a group of friends on opening weekend and everyone left the theater raving about the film and rushing to rate it five stars on Letterboxd. The film is fun and lighthearted, yet it proves to be one of the best portrayals of being young and LGBTQ+ in recent years.

The film follows outcast lesbian and best friend duo PJ and Josie, played by Rachel Sennott (“Bodies, Bodies, Bodies”) and Ayo Edebiri (FX’s “The Bear”) as they navigate their lives as high school losers.

Their goal from the very start of the film is to win over their cheerleader crushes, who have never shown any romantic interest in them. PJ and Josie decide to start a women’s fight club and promote the club in the name of feminism and self-defense, but all they truly want is to seduce hot girls.

“Bottoms” doesn’t shy away from portraying flawed, yet realistic LGBTQ+ characters. This is part of what makes the film such a great representation of actual teens because realistically, not everyone is a hero with a selfless agenda.

The poster for Bottoms (2023), featuring the main cast of the movie.
The poster for Bottoms (2023), featuring the main cast of the movie. The poster is simple, yet reminiscent of early 2000s rom-coms. Photo credit: Katrina Hay

PJ and Josie certainly aren’t, as they spend most of the film complaining, making selfish decisions and lying about their past to impress the members of their fight club.

Most of PJ and Josie’s actions build up a heavily exaggerated representation of an actual high school experience, but at the end of the day, they are teens who do absurd things to impress their crush.

“Bottoms” doesn’t strictly focus on the hardships and trauma that often come with being gay. Though many revolutionary and brilliant LGBTQ+ movies have used this trope, not every LGBTQ+ movie has to be one that leaves us sobbing in the theater.

“I just want to give young queer people a chance to laugh and not have to think too hard and be entertained,” director Emma Seligman said, in an interview with USA TODAY.

Scenes of movie characters coming out, facing homophobia and struggling with their own sexuality are crucial for an accurate representation of being LGBTQ+, but sometimes LGBTQ+ teens simply want a feel-good movie to watch with friends.

Although “Bottoms” might have caused us to shed a tear or two, it was surely from laughter and not sadness. However, the use of an iconic Charli XCX song in the ending scene might’ve also been partially responsible.

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