EFC 3.03: Thoroughbreds

Feat. The Music of MGMT

“I’ve gotten so good at watching people’s emotions that I forget I don’t even have them.”


In affluent suburban Connecticut, two rich girls, Lily & Amanda, rekindle their childhood friendship, by plotting the murder of Lily’s intolerable stepdad.

Cover Chess 1

Newbie writer/director, Cory Finley, captures the girls’ electrifying relationship with slick filmmaking and a sophisticated script.

It all begins at Lily’s (Anya Taylor-Joy) mansion, where Lily is helping Amanda with homework: Reading comprehension.

“Don’t evaluate,” Lily advises. “Just Summarize.”

Lily’s manners are perfect throughout the study session, thanks to years of social etiquette training, no doubt. Behind the kind and courteous facade, however, lies a heart bubbling with dark emotions. She feels sorrow for her late father, and hatred toward her new stepdad, Mark (Paul Sparks), who’s bullying exacerbates her mother’s anxiety. He must go away, whatever it takes.

Amanda (Olivia Cooke), on the other hand, feels nothing. “I have a perfectly healthy brain, it just doesn’t contain feelings,” reveals the iron-jawed teenager, her crinkly brown hair tucked behind her ears.

You feel sorry for Amanda. She’s so callous, and yet she begs our sympathy. At one point she has to almost physically assault her friend in order to give her a hug. Doesn’t she need one herself?

Amanda feels nothing

What Amanda lacks in emotion, she makes up for in intelligence, and empathy. Yes, empathy. While she may not understand how other people are feeling, she has become an expert at reading what they are feeling and why. This acquired social intelligence allows her to see right through Lily’s false countenance.

Amanda challenges her friend to be honest for once in her life. It feels pretty good doesn’t it? But beware of honesty, for it needn’t coincide with benevolence. The shadow self is usually repressed for good reason – the same reason one bridles a wild horse; there’s just no telling what damage the beast might do if given free rein…

Lily feels everything

Ok, as far as the soundtrack I’ve selected, “When You Die” is by no means a perfect fit to this movie… but I just love MGMT’s new album so much I couldn’t resist using it here. I’m sure the band would be mortified if they found out I was using it so out of context.

The emotional tone matches I think. The song contains a vibrant blend of emotions, including sadness and tongue-in-cheek joy. And you can’t sing it correctly without feeling a tad pissed off.

As far as the lyrics, they do describe Lily and Amanda somewhat. That is until the death interlude comes about in the song… I guess it could work if you interpret that section to be a tribute to the late Anton Yelchin (RIP), who’s character, Tim I didn’t really mention here. He’s awesome in this movie btw. As far as MGMT, if you like this song, check out The title track, “Little Dark Age” as well! Hope you enjoy

EFC 3.03 Soundtrack: “When You Die” by MGMT (*WARNING: EXPLICIT CONTENT*)


Release Date: March 9, 2018 (USA)
Rated: R

Director: Cory Finley {Welcome to the show}
Writer: Cory Finley ()

Starring: Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, Kaili Vernoff, and Paul Sparks

The Inside Out: Anger (18), Sadness (16), Disgust (16),ย Fear (15), Joy (15)ย .

4 thoughts on “EFC 3.03: Thoroughbreds

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  1. That is the movie I am really looking forward to. I think it is going to be terrific. It is true that I am yet to watch it, but I have already one concern – I would have swapped the cast around – for me it is easier to imagine Anya Taylor-Joy not feeling anything and Olivia Cooke feeling a lot. I find it harder to sympathise with Taylor-Joy and her facial expressions (she looks too cold and superior to me whereas, Cooke even looks humble). I hope the film will change my perception.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting idea! I actually haven’t seen Olivia Cooke before so it’s hard for me to imagine her feeling anything still. Taylor-Joy does have a natural stoic look about her, so I could see her playing the non-feeling role well too! As you suggested.

      What’s neat about Taylor-Joy’s character in this film, as you’ll see, she represses a lot of her emotions. Therefore, she’ll often maintain a more stoic of placid look on her face. The emotions she actually Expresses are just the tip of the ice Berg. At least, this was my observation (unless I misremembered). Hope you enjoy when you get around to seeing it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I guess then the film is more complicated than I imagine! Interesting!
        I probably said that I picture Olivia Cooke in a more sympathetic, “feeling” role because the audience does sympathise with her a lot in her more or less recent movie The Limehouse Golem, which I recommend. Naturally, I am more familiar with Taylor-Joy because of her role in The Witch, but there she was also ambiguous I think, so I also see her playing varied characters.


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