Netflix have been enriching our screens with an overwhelming supply of romantic comedies, and I’m certainly not complaining. As a woman in my mid twenty’s I’m unafraid to admit that I adore a good coming of age drama. It transports me back to an unbelievably awkward period of adolescence, crowded with cringe occasions, and obsessive infatuations. Nobody wants to relive those hormone enraged years, but it’s certainly entertaining observing a group of unusually well presented twenty somethings pretending to be teens.
All The Boys I Loved Before ( ATBILB ) premiered on Netflix in late August and social media went into a frenzy. Fans became hysterical, and my Instagram explore page swiftly erupted into a dumping ground, for obsessive thirteen year old’s to upload bizarre fan videos. It’s rapidly becoming ridiculous, for weeks many souls have endured countless videos speculating what Noah Centineo’s favorite flavor of ice cream is, or polls of whose hotter, Noah or Israel Brossuard. Who cares?!
Two weeks later Netflix premiered Sierra Burgess Is a Loser and my explore page AGAIN went wild. I happily rushed home to watch, expecting a warm fuzzy feeling to wash over me like ATBILB. Initially I had high hopes for the film considering Sierra was being portrayed by Shannon Purser, who recently starred as the infamous ‘Barb’ from Stranger Things. The film also Stars, Noah Centineo the same boy ‘hunk’ from all the boy’s I loved before, giving the film a small foundation for an already present fan base.
I personally really enjoyed it, but in all sincerity I’m easy to please. When asking my peers and looking online, I discovered that their responses appeared evidently less affirmative than ATBILB. For two films so similar, It seemed crucial and relevant to understand why one initially trumps the other so victoriously.
All The Boys I Loved Before
After watching this film, I was left feeling so warm and light that it was no surprise that I had to watch it again within the same week. Call me pathetic, but Netflix have executed this film brilliantly. Great acting and casting aside, the cinematography was absolutely stunning and visually wholesome.
It’s refreshing to observe a film that represents modern-day high schools, that display more diversity, and 21st century communities. The film interestingly focuses more on the importance of family rather than relationships, which is a fresh twist on a coming of age production. In particular it focuses on the support and relationship between Lara Jean and her two sisters, making the importance of family a prominent feature within the plot. It’s relevant for its time, and well constructed for its audience, the story is full of charm, and translates an undeniable chemistry between the characters.
Another aspect that should be addressed is that the film feels very age appropriate and realistic, the actions of the characters are what you would expect from any regular sixteen year old. It’s no shock that most adolescent dramas, have a habit of making their cast engage in unrealistic activities and circumstances. The age appropriation of this film just adds more authenticity to the story. (The scene from Gossip Girl displaying sixteen year old Serena van der Woodsen, flirtatiously drinking a Martini at the bar come to mind)
Sure thing hun.
My favorite aspect of this film, is that it lacks cringe. Other’s opinions my differ on this point, but in comparison to a film like The Kissing Booth (another fan crazy Netflix Rom-Com ) I really think so. It’s enjoyable to not want to look away from the screen, because you feel uncomfortable. No cringe one liners THANK YOU NETFLIX, or should I say thank you to the original author Jenny Han .
The film was based on a book so it already had a huge following prior to its release. Not that this is a con, but it needs to be mentioned if a comparison is being made against another production, that didn’t already have such a predominate fan base . The story is predictable, however this doesn’t make the viewing feel sour, you still end it with a smile on your face. Cons are very challenging for a film that’s so wholesome. So my advice would be that if you’re looking for an action packed, killing spree drama, I’d stay clear of this movie.
Sierra Burgess Is a Loser
Noah Centineo’s acting is fantastic in this film, he displays an air of engagement that wasn’t demonstrated in ATBILB. The film challenges stereotypes, which I feel is a refreshing process on a high school drama. The jock is not your typical stereotype but rather a sensitive and emphatic personality, who doesn’t aspire to social norms and interacts with whomever he wishes.
The popular cheerleader Veronica, has a not so perfect home life, and the hard exterior of her character is broken down to reveal a person with more depth and humanity. The unlikely friendship between Veronica and Sierra that’s formed also creates an unlikely twist. Cut from the same cloth as ATBILB the films relationship focus, begins to turn from romance, to the importance of friendship.
The representation of the female lead within this production, is considered as a positive and encouraging influence on young girls today. The film promotes intellect, strength of character and most importantly positive body image. This production shows Sierra win the affections of teenage heart-throb Jamey, not due to her physical ascetics, but due to her intellect, wit and warm personality.
In terms of nostalgia, this film has hit the ground running. Watching Sierra texting Jamey, covering her face with a blanket after she has sent the first message. Coupled with the fear of the first phone call, all flash back to my own awkward teenage years. The relationship between Sierra and Veronica also creates a space of real authenticity and engagement to the plot.
There’s unfortunately some serious plot blunders within this film, in particular the ending which seemed rather rushed. The one scene that I’ve heard many people complain about, is the part in which Sierra acquires her revenge on new best friend Veronica. Sierra in the end is forgiven after giving her a tape with a song she sang on it for her.
In the reality the nature of what Sierra did to Veronica, is not something I personally feel a song could fix. The results of that action would have quickly got Sierra at the least suspended from school, which of course would mean goodbye to Stanford University. Not to mention that the film is inhibiting signs of promoting revenge porn.
Keeping with the tone of unusual behavior, the entire film is based on a blossoming romance that is built on a false identity. Jamey is lead to believe that he is in fact texting and talking on the phone with Veronica, when in reality he is being ‘catfished’ by Sierra. He inevitably becomes infatuated with an ideal of the wrong person.
The most shocking aspect of this entire concept, is that not only does Jamey forgive Sierra for ‘catfishing’ him, but he then decides to embark on a relationship with her. These factors alone not only make the plot unrealistic, but again promote unacceptable behaviors for perceptive teenagers.
The ending is a happy one, but it felt more like something to quickly please the audience, which inevitably left the story lacking serious volume, and so I was left feeling slightly unconvinced, and I believe I’m not the only one. When thinking about both films together, it’s clear that there’s a real winner, but is it fair to compare the two films?
All the boys I loved before had already created a cult following before its release, and with Sierra Burgess Is a Loser being released so promptly after, everyone was quick to compare. I believe that if the release date had been further apart from one another, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser would have had more of a fighting chance in terms of respect in spite of all of it’s blunders.