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Easy A

October 4, 2015

Easy AEasy A is a light-hearted teen comedy which makes some serious points about the reputation we build for ourselves. Average, slightly geeky, high school student, Olive finds herself the victim of her school’s “rumour mill” when she lies to her best friend Rhiannon about a weekend tryst with a fictional college freshman. Word quickly spreads of Olive’s promiscuity and, much to her surprise, she welcomes the attention. When she agrees to help out a bullied friend by pretending to sleep with him, her image rapidly degrades to a more lascivious state and her world begins to spin out of control. As she helps more and more of her classmates and her lies continue to escalate, Olive must find a way to save face before the school’s religious fanatic Marianne gets her expelled and she loses a shot at attaining her own happiness.

Olive’s antagonist is the Hollywood stereotype of the “self-righteous Christian.”

Themes covered: conforming; feeling used; covering up; standing in judgment; ‘only pretending’ versus outright deception

At one point in the film Olive’s friend, Rhiannon, says that she has a duty to tell her she’s ‘a dirty skank’. Later, Olive regrets telling Mr. Griffiths that his wife’s having an affair. So are there times when you shouldn’t tell the truth?

While Easy A is a light-hearted film, it touches on some  deep issues about self-esteem, truth and how we allow the views of others to affect our behaviour.

Brandon pleads with Olive to convince people that they’ve had sex together so that he won’t continue to be bullied for being gay.

Brandon’s friends offer Olive gift cards to say that she slept with him. While Olive agrees, she comments on the fact that he could have asked her out on a date, treating her as a human being rather than a service. This is a point she brings up again later in the film; that boys only seem to be interested in her to say they slept with her. In the case of the one boy who does ask her out on a date, he is only doing so to get sex. In effect, Olive’s actions have turned her into a kind of virtual prostitute.

Olive takes the blame for giving Micah chlamydia in order to try to save Mrs Griffiths’ marriage.

Marianne and the other Christians at the school heap judgement onto Olive.

Throughout the film the Christian group is shown as being condemnatory rather than loving.

Olive confesses her regrets at have given people the impression that she was sleeping around. She thought that this was okay but realises that a lot of people have been hurt and are angry with her. While we only see Olive only tell one explicit lie, right at the beginning of the film, she does nothing to discourage the escalation of those lies around the school community; in fact, she actively encourages them (particularly in faking sex with Brandon).

Olive Penderghast: Whatever happened to chivalry? Does it only exist in 80’s movies? I want John Cusack holding a boombox outside my window. I wanna ride off on a lawnmower with Patrick Dempsey. I want Jake from Sixteen Candles waiting outside the church for me. I want Judd Nelson thrusting his fist into the air because he knows he got me. Just once I want my life to be like an 80’s movie, preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason. But no, no, John Hughes did not direct my life.

Rosemary: We’re a family of late bloomers – I didn’t until I was 14, and nor did Olive.

Chip: Why does that matter – I’m adopted!

Dill: [Freaking out] What? Oh my God! Who told you? Guys, we were going to do this at the right time!

Olive Penderghast: [to Brandon as she takes off her panties] Relax. Jesus. What is with you gays? Are you really that repulsed by lady parts? What do you think I have down there? A gnome?

Brandon: Is there an Olive here?

Rosemary: There’s a whole jar of them in the fridge!

Principal Gibbons: This is public school. If I can keep the girls off the pole and the boys off the pipe, I get a bonus.

Olive Penderghast: I might even lose my virginity to him. I don’t know when it will happen. You know, maybe in five minutes, or tonight, or six months from now, or maybe on the night of our wedding. But the really amazing thing is, it is nobody’s goddamn business.

Nina: [spiteful] Perhaps you should embroider a red A on your wardrobe, you abominable tramp.

Olive Penderghast: Perhaps you should get a wardrobe, you abominable twat.

[from trailer] Marianne: There’s a higher power that will judge you for your indecency.

Olive Penderghast: Tom Cruise?

Olive Penderghast: Do you have a religion section?

Bookstore guy: It’s right over there. Can I help you with something?

Olive Penderghast: The Bible.

Bookstore guy: That’s in bestsellers, right next to Twilight.

Olive Penderghast: Ironically, we were studying “The Scarlet Letter”, but isn’t that always the way? The books you read in class always seems to have a strong connection with whatever angsty adolescent drama is being recounted. I consider this. Except for “Huckleberry Finn”, ’cause I don’t know any teenage boys who have ever run away with a big, hulking black guy.

Rosemary: Olive! There’s a young man here to see you [starts speaking in a Southern accent] He said something about asking for your hand in marriage!

Olive Penderghast: [Also speaking in a Southern accent] Oh, happy day, Mama! Oh, I thought I was gonna have to spend my dowry on booze and pills to numb the loneliness. A gentleman caller, hurray!

Olive Penderghast: Don’t you think it’s a little strange that your boyfriend is 22 years old and still in high school?

Marianne: Not that it’s any of your business, trollop, but he is here by choice.

Olive Penderghast: So it’s his choice that he’s a fourth year senior who can’t pass any test he takes?

Marianne: No, silly, [points up] His. His, with a capital H. If God wanted him to graduate, then God would have given him the right answers.

Olive Penderghast: [laughs] I’m sorry, but you gotta be shittin’ me, woman.

Woodchuck Todd: Screw all these people, Olive!

Olive Penderghast: Haven’t you heard? I already did.

Olive Penderghast: [Going to a Church] I was just wondering if there’s a minster around? [Women looks at her]

Olive Penderghast: Is it not a minister?

Olive Penderghast: [Tries again] A reverend?

Olive Penderghast: A wizard?

Marianne: I just hope for your sake you had the good sense to use protection.

Olive Penderghast: Why? Your parents didn’t.

[from trailer] Rosemary: I had a similar situation when I was your age. I had a horrible reputation.

Olive Penderghast: Why?

Rosemary: Because I slept with a whole bunch of people. Mostly guys.

Olive Penderghast: Mom!

Mrs. Griffith: I’m the guidance counselor. I should know all the students, especially the ones that dress like prostitutes.

Rosemary: That boy from yesterday just dropped this off for you…

Olive Penderghast: Well, put it in the pile of gifts from my other suitors.

Rosemary: He seems like a nice kid. He seemed a little incredibly gay…

Olive Penderghast: Dyed in the wool homosexual, that boy is.

Rosemary: I just want you to know your father and I are totally supportive. We love you no matter what the sexual orientation of your opposite sex sex partner…

Olive Penderghast: We are not dating, Mom.

Rosemary: …and don’t worry about not making us grandparents. Although we were kind of hoping you’d get “knocked up” so we’d have a second shot at raising kids, really do it right this time.

Olive Penderghast: Bye now…

Rosemary: You know, I dated a homosexual once. For a long time, actually… a “long” time…

Olive Penderghast: Dear God, dear Lord, tell me you didn’t marry and have children with him!

Rosemary: [Giggles] No.

Olive Penderghast: [Sarcastically imitates laughing]

Rosemary: No, no. Your father is as straight as they come. A little too straight, if you know what I mean, girlfriend.

Olive Penderghast: I don’t…

Olive Penderghast: I was just wondering what your church’s stance on lying and adultery was?

Pastor: It’s not a good thing.

Olive Penderghast: Oh, I agree wholeheartedly. But then, tell me this: assuming there is a Hell…

Pastor: Oh, the Christian church recognizes the existence of Hell.

Olive Penderghast: OK, so we’ll just say there’s a “Hell”…

Pastor: There is. Just so we’re clear.

Olive Penderghast: OK, but for argument’s sake…

Pastor: No, there’s no argument, it’s there. Right below our feet. Right above the Orient.

Olive Penderghast: [sitting in a confessional booth] Forgive me, father, for I have sinned. I think that’s how you’re supposed to start these things. I’m only going on what I’ve seen in the movies. Where do I even start? I’ve been pretending to be a – how would one phrase it in Catholic words? A harlot. It’s not like I’ve actually been doing the things that people are saying I’m doing, but – then again – I’m not denying them, so I’ve just been wondering: is that wrong? It was just that a lot of people had been asking me to do things and I thought it was okay, because it wasn’t real. It was make-believe and no one was getting hurt. But a lot of people hate me now. [tearing up] I kind of hate me, too. [pause] I could be wrong, but aren’t you supposed to say something or ask me questions? Tell me to say ‘Hail Marys’? Hello? [looks at the priest’s box and sees it’s empty] Oh, come on!

Marianne: I hope for your sake, God has a sense of humor.

Olive Penderghast: Oh, I have sixteen years worth of anecdotal proof that He does.

[from trailer] Brandon: Do you wanna go out with me?

Olive Penderghast: Brandon, just a couple of hours ago you told me you were Kinsey 6 gay.

Brandon: You said I should pretend to be straight.

Olive Penderghast: I didn’t mean with me!

Brandon: I am tormented every day at school. Just one good, imaginary fling.

Rhiannon: George is not a sexy name. George is like what you name your teddy bear, not the name you wanna scream out during climax.

Mr. Griffith: I hope by “climax” you weren’t talking about…

Olive Penderghast: The stable and self-perpetuating end-stage in the evolution of a plant community. Like “by George, that tree has reached the final stage of ecological succession”.

Rhiannon: And it only took 20 seconds.

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