Bottoms | Fresh Takes

Fresh takes and film reviews from new voices in film.

Shagnick, Jacob, Ethan, Benjamin

21 Dec 23

Fresh Takes is a space for the latest generation of film lovers to share their views and opinions on some of the great films we are showing at Picturehouse cinemas. 

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Here are some Fresh Takes on Bottoms, a dark comedy about two socially inept and sexually frustrated lesbians who start a high-school fight club to impress the cheerleaders.

Bottoms was shown as part of the Picturehouse OUT programme, showcasing fantastic LGBTQ+ films from reclaimed classics to cutting-edge cinema.

Ethan Skillman, 19

Ethan is a 19-year-old pansexual Acting and Performance student from Southampton. He is a huge comedy and mystery fan and when he's not creating interesting characters at uni, searches for them in the cinema instead.

Ethan says...

I think Bottoms might be my favourite film of 2023. Every single aspect of this film is superb: from its casting to its tone and its pacing, everything is done to perfection, and its 92-minute run time just flies by.
This teen comedy follows two teen lesbians, played by Rachel Sennott (who is also the co-writer) and Ayo Edebiri (who is seemingly having a dream year, also starring in the excellent Theater Camp and TV's The Bear). The pair start a fight club to impress – and hopefully, get with – two of their more popular classmates.

The main thing to talk about in this film is its humour. I found myself laughing at least every 30 seconds – be it from one of the incredibly well-delivered, often improvisational lines, or one of the many random background gags (my favourite being a jock locked in a cage throughout a class), there was constantly something to laugh at. Once or twice I felt that some of the jokes were too obviously signposted, and I found myself waiting for the inevitable punchline a bit too long, but I'd soon forget that as the next joke would land perfectly. All of the cast is superb, but I'd especially like to highlight Summer Joy Campbell who steals every scene she is in.

In conclusion, I would urge everybody, especially my fellow queer filmgoers, to see Bottoms immediately: you will not regret it.

Shagnick Bhattacharya, 22

Nick is a postgraduate student (and an aspiring professor) of history based in Exeter who is passionate about anything that involves the labour of the mind and trying to understand the world better. You can find more of his writing here.

Shagnick says...

The second feature collaboration between director Emma Seligman and actress Rachel Sennott, Bottoms is a great satirical teen-comedy film.

This extremely entertaining story revolves around PJ (Sennott) and Josie (Ayo Edebiri), two high schoolers who are the best of friends and want to hook up with their respective crushes. In short: remember the classic film Superbad? Replace the protagonists in that film with two very well-written lesbian characters, make the story more relevant to Gen Z, and throw in a little more violence, and you get the concept of this film!

I absolutely loved the way this film handled all the themes it explored, especially how they didn't just write lesbian characters to fit a narrative or an agenda, but rather characters who
just happen to be lesbian. This treatment makes the characters more human, and the issues being dealt with much more real. Moreover, the way serious topics are expressed with a lot of comedy (without taking away any of that seriousness) just makes the film so very unique and beautiful.

This film was originally released in just 10 cinemas in the US in August, where it set the record for the highest per-screen average box office revenue since Everything Everywhere All At Once. Need I say any more about just how good this film is? I hope that it reaches the mass audience it deserves..

Jacob Saul, 23

Exeter-based Jacob Saul is an award-winning filmmaker and critic, striving to tell and share unique emotional stories. More of his film work can be found here.

Jacob says...

Hot off the success of their debut feature collaboration Shiva Baby, director Emma Seligman and actor Rachel Sennott co-write Bottoms, a hilarious queer teen comedy that we'll be quoting and revisiting for years.

If cheesy early 2000s comedies are your thing – or even if they're not – chances are you'll enjoy the hell out of Bottoms. Taking the self-absorbed protagonists of that era and applying a witty satirical spin makes the film so special, with its critiques of the genre coming from a place of love. It's almost like archaeologists found a DVD of Bottoms, perfectly sealed, housed inside a Blockbuster rental store from 2004 just waiting to be released.

Lots of contemporary films are making a point of reminding moviegoers about the importance of the big screen experience, with many touting huge spectacle as the main draw. Bottoms instead reminds us of the importance of cinema through the sheer joy of communal viewing, sitting in a room full of people who are all in hysterics at the pitch-perfect performances, absurd situations, and intelligent social commentary.

Bursting with an infectious energy that can't help but make you grin from ear to ear, Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri lead a stellar ensemble you must see for yourself.

Benjamin Newton, 17

Benjamin is a film student, filmmaker and movie lover based in Southampton. He is the owner of BNF Productions ( and you can check out his mini reviews on Instagram at @shotbynewton.

Benjamin says...

Bottoms is a hilariously self-aware and innovative high school movie, celebrating the best of its genre while also reinventing it. The narrative is straightforward yet rapidly evolving and
weird, and the visceral emotions the film provokes are wildly unexpected when you first begin watching.

Even though the film is primarily a comedy, it is incredibly self-aware: the high school stereotypes are all apparent but exaggerated beyond belief, from a muscular-but-dim jock to the attractive cheerleaders and shy emo kids. Even the teacher in the film is exaggerated and portrayed funnily, from his lewd magazines to his awkward mannerisms – it shows an attention to detail that a lot of filmmakers don't have.

Naturally, however, main characters PJ and Josie are the stars of the show. As if coming straight from the director's heart, you can see the pain and joy in every section of the narrative through Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri's performances. The film is a celebration of modern-day feminism and LGBTQ+ society, expertly demonstrated through these characters and the limiting beliefs they are fed.

The film uses 'show, not tell' techniques to undermine stereotypes, its empowering messages bundled up in a comedic, highly entertaining narrative (and an Avril Lavigne needle drop).

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