Bad Genius shows there are different kinds of smart

The film, which had its Canadian premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival, is a heart-stopping drama about cheating

In Bad Genius, a Thai drama directed by Nattawut Poonpiriya, high school students have taken control of their future by getting a few incredibly smart scholarship students to help them cheat on their tests.

Lynn (Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying) is smart. Genius level smart. A mathematical prodigy, Lynn has breezed through school with awards, medals and a perfect GPA. When word spreads that Lynn gave her friend, Grace (Eisaya Hosuwan), the answers to a math test, Lynn starts receiving cash offers from other students who desire her help. As the stakes get increasingly higher, so does the payoff. The underlying goal: don’t get caught.

As incredibly entertaining as Bad Genius is, it’s more than just a film about cheating. It is an ode to students trying to control their uncertain and precarious futures, as well as a critique of academia, where the extreme focus on grades can push students to find alternative ways to succeed. It asks the question: what do grades really mean?

Bad Genius will have you rooting for the characters and their final high-stakes plan: to fly to Sydney and take the STIC (SAT) exam in a different time zone in order to smuggle the answers back to Thailand. As the students hatch more dangerous, creative and elaborate plans, you’ll begin to ask yourself if cheating isn’t taking more energy than studying would.

The student in all of us will be cringing throughout the movie, waiting to see who wins: the system or the students.

Bad Genius had its Canadian premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal on July 16. A second screening is scheduled for July 21 at 5:15 p.m. For more information, visit

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