‘Thoroughbreds’ Portrays Contradictory Impulses of Affirmation and Destruction

Film Homes In on Primitive, Savage at Core of WASP Affluence

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If New England prep-school gothic camp were a genre, Thoroughbreds would exemplify it. They say it’s like American Psycho meets Heathers. It’s more like The Good Son meets Thelma and Louise. Or if Gossip Girl had a touch of The Godfather, or Ghost World were accented by The Silence of the Lambs. It’s like if Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken were one part Cruel Intentions and one part Hard Candy.

One of the final movies to feature Anton Yelchin, Thoroughbreds occupies the same territory as his earlier Fierce People, homing in on the primitive and the savage at the core of WASP affluence. But it’s also an anatomy of female friendship in which the tender understanding between its protagonists, played by Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy, is taken to its moral, sacrificial extreme. As cynical as it is, Thoroughbreds’ portrayal of the contradictory impulses of affirmation and destruction that can mark platonic girl love feels true. It’s Heavenly Creatures if it had been called They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?