Thoroughbreds is part of the emerging trend of indie movies that promotes diverse representation of young adults. Like Lady Bird and Edge of Seventeen, Thoroughbreds is geared towards smart audiences and is carried by well-defined and unique characters. Also like other films in this trend, the diversity of its characters only extends to white people of a specific social class.
Thoroughbreds features two upper class post-millennials struggling to grapple with their admittance into a society preserved through selfishness and narcissism. Amanda, an apparent sociopath, understands the way her actions affect other people but has no genuine feelings or empathy for them. Lily, on the other hand, is driven by her own emotions but has little regard for the experiences of others. The contrast of the two girls and the relationship they form despite their collective numbness offers a novel representation of teenage girls that isn’t driven by school, boys, or any of the other usual teen drama.
Their planned attempts to kill Lily’s truly distasteful step-father is just a backdrop for actors Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy to portray the deadened indifference of the young rich. The girls are blunt about their apathy but their realistic banter and teenage wit is enticing, making the audience an accomplice in their corruption. Their humor is dark and unapologetic and we find ourselves laughing along with them. Their depictions are novel in many ways but at its core, Thoroughbreds is a film about two girl best friends and the weird ways they find to relate to each other.
The film is dominated by really elegant long takes and slow tracking shots that perfectly mirror the drawling daily lives of the rich, disgruntled teens. The graceful visuals are paired with a discordant soundtrack that ranges from jarring strings to heavy beats. The result is unsettling and even creepy — the perfect formal combination for a film that contrasts innate sociopathy and the cultivated lack of empathy of the rich through two teenage girls who are both, ultimately, products of their society.