Bad Genius (Thailand movie) Review

I NEVER THOUGHT A STORY ABOUT CHEATING ON AN EXAM WILL MAKE ME FEEL SO MUCH!!!

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Bad Genius, known in Thai as Chalard Games Goeng (ฉลาดเกมส์โกง), is 2017 Thailand heist movie that broke records left and right. (Well deserved, if i may add!). The film was released in Thailand back in May but only released in the Philippines this October.

*******************************WARNING: SPOILERS*******************************

Bad Genius is about mass cheating in STIC (SAT) scores of hopeful high school students. The story centers on Lynn, the straight-A scholarship student, Bank, another smart scholarship student, Pat, rich and scheming douche guy, and Grace, the wanna-be-actress-but-too-dumb-for-it student. Lynn and Bank flew to Australia to take the SAT exam first (earlier timezone than Thailand). They then sent the answers to Pat and Grace in Thailand who printed the answers via the Grace’s family’s printing press as an encoded bar code in the pencils that the students who paid for the answer sheet will use.

The movie is ingenious. Never thought that I would feel so much from it. I’ve heard positive reviews but I didn’t know that I would completely be blown away by it. The story is simple but there’s a lot of messages regarding our society that can be fleshed out.

Small things must not be overlooked. The massive cheating wasn’t just planned overnight. It started out as a mere gesture of sincerity. Lynn met Grace on her first day in school and quickly became friends due to Grace’s outgoing and fun personality. Grace opened up about her desire to be in the school play but she needs to have at least 3.75 in Math to participate. And the thing is she’s far from it since she’s dumb. A gesture of “friendship” during the exam, Lynn sincerely wants to support Grace and her passion for acting, so when Grace told Lynn that she doesn’t know the answer to the exam questions, even if they have reviewed the EXACT set of question, Lynn decided to provide the answers to Grace via eraser.

Once you start doing something, even if it’s just a small step, it will be hard to stop. So you must not just dismiss thinking twice before doing it.  Small things can get pretty big overtime. For example, you start stealing small things — hair clips, plastic bags, coins — nothing alarming at the start. But it’ll build in you a habit and decreasing satisfaction. Thus you must go the next level — stealing bills, big changes, lying through all of it when asked. When this does not even satisfy you, you’ll then go for the big things, pick pocketing, stealing big things, large sum, etc. In other cases, we always have “this time only” excuse. We’ll just do this at this time. But then that’s what we have been saying for the millionth time even before we realize we are doing it. This is building in us the habit of justifying  the not advisable thing we are doing. It started out small but snowballed, factoring in various elements, into a massive scale of cheating when money became involved which brings us to the second point. Everything boils to money.

“The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”

I Timothy 6:10

Money is indeed the root cause of all evil, but this is backed by inequality and unfair circumstances that we are born with. When the rich and pompous Pat offered the poor scholarship Lynn to cheat for him and offered to pay 3000 Baht per subject, Lynn declined at first but then decided to accept it when Pat mentioned that there’s a “Tea Ceremony” money which the students must pay for supposedly administration costs of the expensive school they are in. One thing led to another and we have our story (see Point #1). On this second point though, we can see that even the “good” and “moral” people can forget their beliefs and morals when faced with a large sum of money. A great example is Bank. Bank was the straight-laced guy who couldn’t tolerate cheating. Going so far as to reporting to the headmistress that Tong was cheating off Lynn during their exam. But in the end, wanting to end the dirt poor life he is living, and providing her mother a better life, he dropped his morals and joined the heist. WILL YOU CHOOSE MORALS OR MONEY?

Third point that we can see is the inequality of society and how it plays a big role in the decisions we are making. We can see inequality and unfairness of life (social status quo)  that drives “good” people to grab hold on to the money offer even if they know they are bending and even betraying rules of their principle and morals. We see here the typical stereotype — RICH but DUMB and SMART but POOR (although i honestly don’t believe the rich are really dumb since they know how to use their resources *money* to their advantage) — and how the RICH EXPLOITS THE POOR. And in which at the end of the day, the poor will always be the scapegoat. In a sense, in this battle of Rich VS Poor, the rich always wins. No matter what the circumstance is. Inequality can also be seen when Lynn’s father was lobbying Lynn into her acceptance into the school. He only wants what is best for Lynn and decided that the school can provide that because it’s one of the known schools connecting graduates to study abroad programs which can lead to a brighter future. Lynn’s father is wanting only what’s the best, but it became the worst instead. Here, we can see that access to education is not equal to all. Thus, if you’r born into money, you’ll already guaranteed with available resources, no worrying about where to get the next meal and thus you have the chance to focus more on your study. But the poor needs to struggle with everything they have just to have a decent meal and be able to study. The image below shows this point.

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Photo credit: @banksy

Lastly, a strong support system is what we all need to go ahead and face the consequences of our actions. Lynn, in the end, decided to confess everything to her father and report it to media. And in the last scenes of the movie that her father never left her. We can see that we really need a strong support system, family, to get us through our mistakes, our bad decisions because, if not, we might just make more wrong choices.

Bad genius is a bad ass film that everyone must watch. The story reflects our society. It’s a good movie to make you think. It also tugs at your heartstrings. The actors are also good!!! They have portrayed the characters well especially LYNN!!!

If you haven’s watched it yet. WATCH IT NOW! You’ll definitely won’t regret! 🙂

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