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One and Two
Anya as: Lily
Directed by: Cory Finley
Written by: Cory Finley
Produced by: Andrew Duncan, Alex Saks, Kevin J. Walsh, Nat Faxon
Other cast: Olivia Cooke, Anton Yelchin, Paul Sparks
Release date: March 9, 2018
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Running time: 1h 32min

Thoroughbreds is a 2017 American black comedy thriller film written and directed by Cory Finley, in his directorial debut. It stars Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, Paul Sparks, and Francie Swift. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2017, and was released on March 9, 2018, by Focus Features and Universal Pictures.

Synopsis

In suburban Connecticut, upper-class high schooler Amanda (Olivia Cooke) euthanizes her crippled horse with a knife, resulting in charges of animal cruelty.

Some time later, Amanda arrives at the home of the more popular and academically-inclined Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy). The girls had previously been best friends but grew apart after the death of Lily’s father. They meet under the pretense of hanging out and having a casual tutoring session, but Amanda knows that her mother (Kaili Vernoff) has paid Lily to socialize with Amanda. Lily denies being paid, but Amanda, left emotionless by an unspecified mental disorder, is unfazed. Lily meets with Amanda again, this time voluntarily, and they rekindle their friendship.

Lily lives with her mother Cynthia (Francie Swift) and stepfather Mark (Paul Sparks), a wealthy but abrasive man whom she hates. One night, Amanda asks if Lily ever thought about killing Mark, upsetting Lily. However, tensions flare between Lily and Mark when Mark enrolls Lily in a boarding school for girls with behavioral issues. After seeing him berate Cynthia, Lily reconsiders and calls Amanda about the notion of killing him. She proposes that Amanda perform the murder as she would be free of guilt while doing it. However, Amanda believes that her pending animal cruelty trial would make her an immediate suspect, and they decide instead to blackmail drug dealer Tim (Anton Yelchin) into murdering Mark while both of them are out of town. The night of the planned murder, Tim arrives on the property but leaves without killing Mark. The girls agree not to contact Tim again, as his own criminal history will prevent him from alerting the police. Lily impulsively prepares to kill Mark herself but is talked out of it by Amanda.

One night, Lily and Amanda are watching a film at home when Lily reveals that she has spiked Amanda’s drink with Rohypnol, planning to stab Mark to death and frame Amanda. Lily attempts to back out of the planned murder, but Amanda willingly finishes the drink. While Amanda is unconscious, Lily murders Mark and rubs Amanda with his blood, crying and holding the unconscious Amanda for comfort.

Some time later, a recovered and confident Lily encounters Tim, who now works as a restaurant valet. Following Mark’s death, Lily has once again found academic success and is interviewing for college admission. Lily gives Tim the tape which she was going to use to blackmail him. She then mentions a letter from Amanda, who has been institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital for Mark’s murder. The letter is shown to detail Amanda’s experiences at the institution and a recurring dream about a future in which the humans let the community fall into disarray due to their vanity and it becomes overrun by thoroughbred horses. When Tim asks what the letter said, Lily says she threw the letter away without reading it.

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Trivia
  • Originally written for the stage.
  • The film has remained in limbo for almost 2 years. Production lasted from May to June 2016, and the film wasn’t theatrically released until March 9th, 2018. This was due to a long and extensive festival circuit in 2017, not to mention post-production and marketing.
  • Character Quotes
  • Lily: Have you been showering?
    Amanda: Recently, only every couple of days. Nobody said anything so I assumed I was getting away with it.
    Lily: Well, you’re not.
    Amanda: Not sorry I tried.
  • Amanda: [Lily is crying] There you go.
    Lily: What?
    Amanda: The technique.
    Lily: I’m not using the technique.
  • Tim: You’ve got a creepy friend.
    Lily: I know.
  • Lily: I think you should leave.
    Amanda: Why?
    Lily: I just think you should.
    Amanda: I don’t get it.
    Lily: You don’t have to.
  • Filming
  • Date: May 9, 2016 – June 5, 2016
  • Location: Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA
  • Box Office
  • Opening Weekend USA: $1,224,430, 11 March 2018, Limited Release
  • Gross USA: $2,830,775, 29 March 2018
  • Reviews & Reception

    On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 86% based on 133 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The website’s critical consensus reads, “Thoroughbreds juggles genres with panache, delivering a well-written and refreshingly unpredictable entry in the teen thriller genre.” On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 76 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.

    “Ah, and what fucked-up girls. Cooke and Taylor-Joy are perfect casting, their parallel careers real-life’s healthier correlative to their queasy chemistry on screen. They’re both rising stars prominent in two huge upcoming films (Ready Player One and The New Mutants respectively), they both first made their mark carrying horror indies (Ouija, The Witch), and they’re unusually self-possessed for actors born after Jurassic Park came out.

    Director Finley must be thanking his lucky stars they are, as his dialogue, both riddled with things unsaid and spat with venomous frankness, is batted between Cooke and Taylor-Joy with relish as they vie for who can manifest the darkest psychology. One is a psychopath who’s disarmingly frank about her condition, the other the ne plus ultra of overachievers obsessed with — that word again — control.”

    Empire, Thoroughbreds review

    Promotion

    The cast of Thoroughbreds began promoting the movie on January 21, 2017 at Sundance Film Festival. Anya, co-star Olivia Cooke and director Cory Finley stopped by Variety Studio and Creators League Studio before attending the film’s premiere. On the following day, Anya was seen attending AT&T at The Lift. It was during the festival that negotiations went through and it was announced that Focus Feature had bought the movie and would be distributing it.

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    During Thoroughbreds’ trip to Sundance Film Festival, Anya and the cast were photographed by various publications such as The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, Variety and many others.

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    Anya’s next appearance to promote Thoroughbreds was at BFI London Film Festival on October 9, 2017 where she attended the film’s premiere. This was the last time Anya would promote the movie that year, returning to promote it in 2018.

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    Promotion returned with a bang on February 28, 2018 as Anya attended the Los Angeles premiere of Thoroughbreds. A couple of days later she was seen attending the New York Screening of the filming, Build Series and at last, SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations.

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    Official Trailer