One of the best things about the latest coming-of-age teenage drama on Netflix is the subject matter and how it was executed. You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, gave the audience some peculiar yet believable characters that many of us could relate to on an everyday basis.
Stacy Friedman, the younger daughter of Danny and Bree Friedman, is on the verge of becoming an insufferable teenager. She is going to be a 13-year-old girl, which means her bat mitzvah ceremony is going to happen soon. The ceremony will proclaim her an adult as per the Jewish faith. Apart from the bat mitzvah part, Stacy is excited about the party to celebrate the ceremony. The girl is a preteen, and she has reached a point in her life where she gets carried away by everything that happens around her. To support her dream bat mitzvah party, she has her best friend Lydia Rodriguez Katz, who, just like Stacy, dreams of a perfect bat mitzvah as well.
The two seem to be in sync with each other most of the time. But since Stacy is eager to become cool, she tends to overstep her boundaries and act selfishly as well. Stacy means well because she is just a kid. They are allowed to make mistakes at this stage. Stacy could be any one of us while growing up. There was always a sense of adventure and a penchant for excitement. Stacy and her friends are considered nerds. Stacy wants to go beyond the label she’s been assigned. It is typical for any girl her age to follow the crowd. Stacy has a sister, Ronnie, who does not interfere. Ronnie herself has been through this phase. She wants Stacy to experience and understand situations around her, not be the protective elder sister who shelters her from problems. They both love and respect each other’s spaces, and Ronnie gives her advice whenever she requires it.
Just like any girl of her age, she has a crush on a boy. His name is Andy, and everyone in her group knows the boy is off-limits. Stacy’s character in the movie goes from being affable to annoying in no time. In an attempt to impress her crush, she carried out a deadly stunt. Stacy did not worry about her life or the consequences of her actions. She is at an age where she tends to believe that her social standing at school is the only thing that matters. She is refusing to acknowledge peer pressure.
Stacy started acting selfish and jealous because she felt the attention that should have come to her was going to Lydia. Lydia tries to be there for Stacy after an embarrassing incident involving her periods, but Stacy pushes her away in a fit of anger. Stacy is filled with insecurities because of her constant failed attempts to get Andy’s attention. She refuses to see Lydia’s concerns about her.
Lydia comes from a well-to-do family. Her family’s financial standing garners the attention of the most popular girls’ group in school, which again slightly bothers Stacy’s ego. Stacy cannot be punished for such behavior because, growing up, such feelings that crop up are valid. It is her call to understand if she is being fair to herself and Lydia. After witnessing Andy kiss Lydia, Stacy is livid at the betrayal. Stacy, in a fit of anger, asks her only best friend not to attend her bat mitzvah. This was a big step because they had been dreaming of it for a long time. Stacy could have been more trusting of Lydia, but she is a self-involved person. She refuses to hear or see the good in people around her, including her parents and sister.
Even though her jealousy is palpable, she manipulates her group into disliking Lydia for going after Andy. Stacy has been assigned a bat mitzvah project, which she has not gotten around to doing because she is obsessed with Andy and Lydia at this point. She tries to gain brownie points for the project by working at a nursing home that Andy frequents to meet his grandmother. The writer and director of the movie aptly project the confidence with which kids like Stacy carry out work, hoping that nobody can see through their façade. Stacy manipulates Andy into breaking up with Lydia, which must be one of the worst things she has done so far.
Stacy is blinded by her obsession with Andy, and she is willing to sabotage Lydia’s life. She couldn’t move on and accept the fact that Andy may have liked Lydia more than her. Stacy’s behavior gets worse as the film progresses. She fears losing the image she has crafted for herself.
Stacy also created a video involving a lot of Lydia’s embarrassing footage that she had with her. She had planned to use this video at her bat mitzvah party just to get back at her best friend for betraying her. This video reaches Lydia’s bat mitzvah party thanks to Lydia and Stacy’s ignorant mothers. The video is projected for everyone to witness Stacy’s pettiness. This is when she understands the seriousness of her act. It will not be easy to go back to being friends unless Stacy makes a genuine, heartfelt gesture.
This incident triggered changes in her. It is heartening to watch Stacy realize the repercussions of her acts and why she would need Lydia in her life more than anyone else. Her bat mitzvah at the synagogue goes perfectly as planned. Stacy worked hard on it to make her parents happy as well. Her father, Danny, is finally able to see why Stacy is going through these changes because she wants to do the right thing. She meets Lydia in the hope of making things right between them. Lydia is honest about her feelings. Stacy can finally see that she made mistake after mistake just for her selfish gains and left Lydia behind. Lydia had to uphold her self-respect and move on. Stacy re-invites Lydia and requests her to attend her bat mitzvah party. To Lydia’s surprise, the party was for her. It was Stacy’s way of apologizing to her in the grandest gesture possible. Stacy knew by the end she did not want to lose a friend like Lydia, who had always been truthful about everything so far. She is lucky to have Lydia by her side. This is the sole reason behind Stacy and Lydia coming back together as best friends possible forever.