Already destined for cult classic status, Thoroughbreds is the tale of Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke), two boarding school types gracing the upper echelons of society, who rekindle their friendship and end up engaging in a subversive swirl of events.
Similar to Heathers’ Veronica Sawyer, our anti-heroines are bound to put their stamp on a generation, or be the emblem for what might best be called a contemporary ‘youthquake’ – term coined by Diana Vreeland in the 60s to define the youth movement at the time.
The story is “morally ambiguous” at best, as Steven Zeitchik points out, but nonetheless exudes a certain mischievous charm and aspirational appeal. With that in mind, here are five ways for you to delve into the world penned by Cory Finley and unleash the ‘thoroughbred’ within.
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1) Get your priorities straight.
Amanda shares her pearl of wisdom after recovering from a setback caused by Lily’s hesitation. She says, “The only thing worse than being incompetent, or being unkind, or being evil, is being indecisive." There’s nothing a self-assertive ‘thoroughbred’ values more than determination and purposefulness. Shift the vantage point to your inhibited self, and you’ll be sure to never again miss an opportunity window or fall into paralysis when things go south. Talk about a power Lily would (quite literally) kill for! Amanda singles out decisiveness as indispensable, but be wary of the possible side effects of blithely adopting this motto: impaired moral judgement, social alienation and utter emotional hollowness, just to name a few.
2) When life gets in the way, book a facial.
Why tackle a problem head on when you can escape in an oasis of calm and relaxation, only to resume your quotidian life when the issue dissipates? Lily flees home for a spa weekend with her mom after hiring a small-time mercenary, Tim (Anton Yelchin), to do her dirty work. It’s safe to say, the more tranquil the spa, the guiltier the conscience. But then, who needs a clear conscience when you can enjoy clinically pristine surroundings, sip some detox concoction, and have endlessly chirpy staff attend to your every (beauty) need? Once again, priorities, people!
3) Preppy is the way to go.
When you’re on a mission, you’ve got to dress the part. Let Lily inspire your sartorial transformation with her crisp white knits, nautical-inspired outerwear, and pastel ensembles. Beauty-wise, think glossy slicked-back up-dos, poreless skin, and burgundy lips drawn on with surgical precision. It’s almost like warfare armour for the poised girl. But preppiness goes beyond fashion and beauty. It all comes down to having the ‘right’ attitude. Look at Amanda casually donning her rumpled attire. No less ‘thoroughbred’ than Lily, she’s owning the look with her unbreakable monotone demeanour and withering glances.
4) Master the ‘Technique’.
Brace yourself, this is a tough one to crack and might take years of practice. You may even want to consider investing in help from a trained professional, or check out the myriad YouTube videos on the topic (yes, there are plenty!). After watching a highly convincing crying scene in the 1946 film noir The Postman Always Rings Twice, Amanda introduces Lily to the ‘Technique,’ a method arguably used by actors to achieve the coveted emotional climaxes on screen. That is, crying on cue. The ‘Technique’ can come in handy to everybody, say, as a means to dupe your peers into indulging your ludicrous requests, or in Lily’s case, to escape her stepfather’s (Paul Sparks) stifling disposition. It comes as no surprise that Lily jumped at the chance to learn it. You should, too.
5) Keep your options open.
On a seemingly dull SAT prep session, Amanda confesses to Lily that she contemplates skipping college and exploiting her business acumen instead to “sort of Steve Jobs (her) way through life.” If academia becomes intolerable, it’s reassuring to know there are other options. This is the age of Jobs and Zuckerberg, when entrepreneurship is cool and hustle no longer bears negative connotations. For some however – counting Tim and, to some extent, Amanda in this category – it’s also the age of self-delusion and disruptive narcissism. You do you, but regular reality checks are always recommended.