WRITTEN BY ANDREW KORPAN / JANUARY 26, 2023
Kaitlyn Dever is one of Hollywood’s brightest young stars. She’s already got a resumé full of amazing films and performances at such a young age that older actors would die for. Dever was first placed on my radar after watching Booksmart (more on this in a moment) and has since grown into my favourite actress. So I thought, it's time to celebrate her and highlight her career thus far as it only continues to blossom?
Short Term 12 (98%)
All Summers End (20%)
Favourite Film: Booksmart
Perhaps a basic choice, but Booksmart is one of my favourite films of all time. I watched it for the first time at one of the lowest points in my life, and it’s the last time I re-watched a film over and over again in a short period of time. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut opened my eyes to my “Dever Fever” and remains one of my go-to films whenever in need of a pick-me-up. Booksmart is a perfect film and I can’t recommend it enough.
Favourite Performance: Booksmart/Dopesick
Maybe a bit of a copout, but I chose two performances because they contrast each other quite well. Amy in Booksmart is a fun-loving nerd that locks that behind her friendship with Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and their pact to prioritize school first and a social life second. From the dorky dancing to the innocence of her first intimate moment with another girl, Dever nails it and this is the performance that made me a fan.
Vis-a-vis Dopesick, this is Dever’s defining performance. Her character struggles with addiction and hiding it from her family, and while I won’t spoil what ultimately happens, her performance throughout is a gut punch (she even goes toe-to-toe with Michael Keaton in a few scenes). If you somehow doubt Dever after her other performances, watch Dopesick and try not to cry.
Worst Film: All Summers End
In the first instalment in the “Kaitlyn Dever has a manipulative boyfriend” genre, a young Dever stars in a film about adolescent summer love. Grace (Dever)’s boyfriend Conrad (played by Tye Sheridan) and his friends accidentally play a part in the death of her brother. Instead of coming clean, Conrad continues seeing Grace with the guilt ultimately building up as he’s accepted into her family and getting closer to her. The film was shot in 2013 but ultimately released in 2018. If you’ve seen the film, it being stuck without a distributor for years is not that surprising. Its crescendo is the only part of the story that really sticks, but it's a bore otherwise.
Most Underrated Film: Ticket to Paradise
While Ticket to Paradise has been a huge box office hit in 2022 — grossing $165 million worldwide — and is just now hitting Peacock and home media. That said, the film has just a 57% approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and while that can only indicate so much, that’s certainly far from great.
Most Overrated Film: Them That Follow
I don’t think that Dever has had enough credits to warrant any “overrated” films, her best films such as The Spectacular Now, Short Term 12, Booksmart, etc. are all properly praised, so I’ll have to make do with what remains. It’s a good thing that The Devil All the Time came out a year later than Them That Follow, a religious thriller film that similarly takes place in a small town with a star-studded cast including Olivia Colman, Jim Gaffigan, Walton Goggins and Lewis Pullman. Dever has a very small role in the film — which tells you all that you need to know — and is ultimately the only saving grace outside of the atmosphere. The film only has a 59% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, but that’s still too high.