As I’ve probably mentioned before, last summer I took my GCSEs, the culmination of two years of hard work and pain. This also meant that I had a really long summer break, and a lot of time on my hands – probably too much time, if I’m honest. Instead of spending most of my time preparing for my A-levels, (well, I spent some of my time working…) I decided to delve into Netflix’s wide array of Teen Rom-Coms. Now that I’m back at school, I’m turning my attention to my A-levels, so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you.
The 3 I watched have two key things in common; they have very similar storylines (intelligent/slightly awkward girl with a quirky/overenthusiastic best friend who overcomes the obstacles set by a mean “popular” girl to be with a hot “jock” boy), and like most teen Rom-Coms, are set in American high schools. As a British teen, I have no experience of what these schools are like – are they very different from the films? Are they that cliquey? Let me know in the comments!
I have rated each out of 5 for two categories: Realistic to Teen Struggles (RTS) and Feel-Good Factor (FGF). The first is about how well they represent some of the issues that teens face when growing up, and the second is about if they lifted my mood and gave me a positive feeling.
- The Kissing Booth
Based on a book by Beth Reekles
Elle (Joey King) and Lee (Joel Courtney) have been best friends for as long as they can remember, but with this long-term friendship there are rules – one of them being that the other’s relatives are off limits. When they decide to run a Kissing Booth at the School Carnival, things start to get difficult when Elle is paired with her long-term crush, Noah (Jacob Elordi) , who also happens to be Lee’s brother. Will she break their agreement, or stay loyal to her best friend?
I really like the friendship between Lee and Elle – they had such a caring relationship at the beginning of the film. However, I did have a few issues with the film. Noah consistently got into fights and was controlling of Elle’s romantic life, which he had no business meddling with, and Elle agreed to go out on a date with a guy that harassed her. The behaviour of the guys in the film let it down for me, but I did find Elle’s character to be sweet and likeable.
RTS: 2/5 FGF: 3/5
2. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Based on a book by Jenny Han
Lara Jean (Lana Condor) decided to write five letters to all the boys that she has had a crush on – a way to express her emotions. Of course, these letters were never meant to be sent. Until one day, when they mysteriously find their way out of her special hiding place, and all of a sudden her next door neighbour and her sister’s boyfriend, Josh Sanderson (Israel Broussard) , and the popular loved-by-everyone Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), among others, know the intense feelings she once had for them.
This was my favourite of the bunch – it’s about time that a teen rom-com has an East-Asian lead. I loved the sister friendship and support in Lara Jean’s family – I really appreciate seeing teenage girls supporting one another. I think that Lara Jeans is a very relatable character, especially for me – her character was not a cliche. Another highlight of this novel is Peter Kavinsky – not simply for his good looks, but for how well he treats and respects Lara Jean, which I think is really important in teen movies, especially as they are watched by so many. The post-credit scene made me want a prequel, so I’m reading the books at the moment so I can find out before it’s released (review coming soon!)
RTS: 4.5/5 FGF: 4.5/5
3. Sierra Burgess is a Loser
When jock Jamey (Noah Centineo) asks for Veronica’s phone number, it’s not hers he gets – it’s that of Stanford Hopeful Sierra (Shannon Purser). They then decide to work together to win over Jamey, without him knowing that Sierra is writing the texts, not Veronica…
Sierra Burgess is a Loser also stars the charming Noah Centineo as Jamey. I really respect the show for the way they handled body positivity – the unrealistic beauty standard teenagers face is mentioned, but Sierra is confident within herself, and most importantly, shows signs of accepting herself for who she is. However, there are some negatives that I think are worth mentioning. Firstly, and this may be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t think Sierra deserved Jamey. She basically catfished him about her identity, even though she had many opportunities to back out. That’s not how I would have treated Jamey, is all I’m saying. The story did however end nicely, and all was resolved.
RTS: 4/5 FGF: 2/5
Overall, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before came out on top – It was a feel-good movie, one you can curl up and watch on an autumnal day. It doesn’t really follow the book, with many of the scenes in a different order, but I think it works really well, with the personalities of Lara Jean and Peter really coming across.