'Thoroughbreds' Movie Review

Updated on March 25, 2018
popcollin profile image

Collin's been a movie critic since 2009. In real life he works in marketing and is also a novelist ("Good Riddance" published in Oct 2015).

Thoroughbreds | Source

It’s a safe bet that no one wakes up jonesing for an indie flick about two sociopathic, rich-kid, teen-aged girls who plot to murder an adult with the help of a drug-dealing loser—but once you see Thoroughbreds, you may find yourself thankful for the 90 minutes well spent. The black-as-night comedy from first-time director Cory Finley, who adapted his own stage play, is quirky and disturbing and hilarious all at once. With its distinctly small-budget approach and its sparse (but hella-talented) cast, Thoroughbreds evokes the style and feel of independent movies like sex, lies, and videotape and Carnage, with a story reminiscent of Heavenly Creatures and Heathers.

Anya Taylor-Joy leads the way as Lily, a smart and seemingly normal young woman who’s been kicked out of boarding school for plagiarism. Years earlier she was friends with Amanda (Olivia Cooke), but ever since the death of Lily’s father, the two have grown apart. After Amanda kills her own horse (offscreen, thankfully), her mother arranges for the two girls to hang out with each other again, in hopes that it will help cure her daughter of whatever psychological disorder is plaguing her.

Amanda informs Lily that she is incapable of feeling any emotions, either positive or negative, and the two eventually begin to bond. When Lily expresses her hatred for her overbearing, obnoxious stepfather Mark (Paul Sparks), Amanda suggests they devise a plan to kill him, and she eventually recruits hapless Tim (the late Anton Yelchin, in the last role he filmed) to do the dirty work.

Saying anymore would spoil all the deliciously dark fun that Thoroughbreds provides, but it’s safe to remind everyone that things rarely work out as planned. Sure enough, just when you think you have the film figured out and can comfortably sit back to enjoy it, Finley takes you down another swerving detour and throws everything on its head. The film is a wholly unpredictable thrill ride that may make you feel like you’re as much of a head-case as its main characters are.

Taylor-Joy and Cooke play off each other with the finely-honed precision of two dancers nailing a perfectly choreographed routine. We’re never really sure what’s going on in the girls’ heads, and that’s just how Finley wants it; Thoroughbreds is crafted to make sure you keep guessing from start to finish… and then guess even more once the credits have stopped rolling.

From little details like the incessant droning of Mark’s rowing machine to the oversized chess game Amanda plays by herself as they plot the murder, the movie is collection of seemingly small and inconsequential things that all collide into a glorious, what-the-hell ending.

Enhanced by composer Erik Friedlander’s off-kilter score and the tight, efficient work by editor Louise Ford (Don’t Breathe), Finley’s debut is a wonderful (though wonderfully disturbing) triumph. Not too many people zip out to the movies in search of something that makes them think even as they squirm a little in their seat, but hey... it can't all be superheroes and cutesy love stories, right?


4.5/5 stars

'Thoroughbreds' trailer


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      11 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Interesting article. I've not heard of this film, but sounds like one I'd want to watch.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)