Ok, I have to say it: I absolutely loved Netflix’s new original movie Dude staring Lucy Hale.
If you’ve seen the trailer for the film (it’s below in case you haven’t), you’ve definitely gotten the wrong impression of Dude. The trailer makes it seem like a light-hearted film about a bunch of stoner girls getting ready to graduate. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Yes, they love to get high. And yes, they are graduating high school in just two weeks. But the movie is a lot more real than it gives itself credit for and takes on some of the hard realities that nearly all high school grads have to face. For the most part, it’s a surprisingly pretty accurate reflection of just how stressful it is to leave your the safety of the community you grew up in, all of your friends, and the life you’ve always known.
Lucy Hale stars as Lily, a Type-A, high-strung senior who tries harder and harder to take control of her life, despite everything as she knew transforming before her eyes. I watched Lucy for years on Pretty Little Liars and am a fan of her new show Life Sentence. But I have to say, this might be her best acting yet.
Throughout the film, Lily deals with the sudden death of her first love and the grief that comes and is also raped at a party (although they technically never use that word, it was definitely sexual assault).
And despite having to act out a number of very intense scenes, Lucy absolutely does the character justice. her emotions felt real and raw in a way I haven’t seen from her before.
The rape scene, as well as the fallout, was all too real. Lily just had a fight with her friends when she decides to go upstairs with a guy she had met just once before. When they get to the bedroom and start making out, Lily tells him up front that they are not having sense. And yet moments later, he’s inside her. She tells him to stop and yet he continues. And in under a minute, the whole thing is over. Lily has been completely violated. The next morning, she seems in shock and can’t bring herself to tell her friends exactly what happened.
It’s not what we think of when we picture rape and yet it’s something that has happened to numerous girls. But it’s a story that absolutely needs to be told. And I’m so glad that Dude took it on.
And Lucy (as Lily) was phenomenal. She was so believable and so vulnerable.
Netflix’s original movies have been pretty hit or miss, especially their teen films. While To the Bone with Lily Collins was excellent, XOXO with Sarah Hyland was a disaster. I was so skeptical going into Dude that it would be cheesy and poorly written. But Lucy Hale, Kathryn Prescott, Awkwafina, and Alexandra Shipp brought the film to life in a completely unexpected way.
The movie hasn’t gotten much press coverage, but I hope that changes soon. It’s definitely worth your attention.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.