Bad Genius is a thriller film from Thailand which was released in 2017. Receiving a positive response and winning various awards both nationally and internationally, the Bad Genius film was then made a mini version of the series with the title Bad Genius the Series.
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Bad Genius film tells the story of a high school girl named Lynn who has intelligence above average. He was a genius who never failed in all subjects. Not only that, Lyyn also often won various awards ranging from arts to sports. To get better educational opportunities, Lynn’s father transferred him to a bona fide high school but at a higher cost. Not wanting to add to the economic burden of his father who works as a teacher, Lynn managed to negotiate with the principal and get a full scholarship to attend school there.
At her new school, Lynn befriends Grace. Despite having financial space, Grace apparently had no luck in academics. Seeing Lynn’s extraordinary brilliance, Grace asks to be taught a lesson. Lynn, who was hesitant, melted down with Grace’s seduction, calling her Miss Teacher Lynn.
Despite getting help from Lynn, Grace turns out to be unable to do the exam questions. Feeling sorry, Lynn finally volunteered to give the answer key written on the eraser. Grace then told this to her lover, Pat. Unexpectedly, Pat wants Lynn to help him with the exam in exchange for money. The meeting with Pat then becomes the beginning of various cheats designed by Lynn to get money. To carry out more complicated stunts, Lynn needs a genius partner to work with. He also invited Bank, who is also an outstanding student who received a scholarship at school. The cheat business that initially only involved a few people, later developed into an international crime worth hundreds of millions of rupiah.
The film Bad Genius is said to be inspired by the true story of a group of high school students who designed fraud on the Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT exam (Coconuts Bangkok, 2019). This test, which consists of Mathematics and English, is generally a requirement for university entry, especially in the United States. Basically, SAT will measure students’ self-potential, reasoning, cognitive abilities, and general understanding before starting lectures.
What’s interesting about the Bad Genius film is the privilege gap that can be seen from the four main characters, namely Lynn, Bank, Grace, and Pat. Lynn and Bank are two child geniuses but come from families with modest financial circumstances. On the other hand, Grace and Pat are lovers who are both from the top class but are not gifted with any intellectual abilities.
In the view of society, people who have the privilege are considered to have a greater chance of success than those who do not have the privilege. It is this lack of privileges that makes Lynn and the Bank reckless of cheating on exams in order to get money to continue their education to university level. “Actually, we are both losers. We’re not born winners like Pat and Grace. We have to try harder to get what we want. Even if you don’t cheat, life still cheats you, ”said Lynn when she invited Bank to join her gang.
Although initially refused, the Bank finally accepted Lynn’s invitation because she could not bear to see her mother’s suffering as a laundry worker who had to support the family. The bank finally agreed with Lynn’s opinion that what they were doing was not something that was cheating because no one was harmed. Everyone benefits equally from getting what they want, namely money and passing exams.
What Lynn and Bank did was actually their attempt to get out of poverty, even though they were without morality. Even though they do not have the privileges like Grace and Pat, in fact Lynn and Bank can create their own privileges through the brilliance of their brains. There are still other efforts that can be done such as becoming a part-time teacher to earn additional income. The scholarship scheme is also very possible in order to continue with higher education. Moreover, there are many scholarship options available from both the government and the private sector. Of course this is not a problem because Lynn and Bank actually have the privilege of genius that is not shared by everyone.
As the Bank said to Lynn when inviting her to cheat again, “The decision is yours,” the decision is really up to us. At least there was morality in Lynn when she decided to expose her cheating case to the authorities. Honesty, daring to admit mistakes, and starting everything from scratch become a crucial message from the film Bad Genius.