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Spoiler Alert! Sierra Burgess is a Loser [& a Terrible Person]

Netflix has been on a roll lately, leading a revival of the teen rom-com. Following the successes of the likes of To All the Boys I've Loved Before and The Kissing Booth, the entertainment company recently released its latest installment, Sierra Burgess is a Loser, starring Shannon Purser and Noah Centineo.

The film is about a young girl called Sierra who is neither conventionally pretty nor popular and has never had a boyfriend. When a cute boy texts her, believing he's talking to the prettiest girl in school, Sierra fakes her identity and things spiral out of control.

However, unlike its predecessors, which provide the audience with heartwarming coming-of-age tales, Sierra Burgess is a Loser is completely problematic, driven by the fact that its title character and protagonist is an awful person.

 

Sierra Burgess is a loser is such a fucked up film. How is @netflix romanticing catfishing ??????

— Mehek Ali (@MehekBukhari_) September 10, 2018

 

The plot of the film centres around the fact that Sierra catfishes Jamey (Centineo). She accidently starts receiving texts messages from the football player and boy-next-door when mean-girl Veronica gives it to him to be cruel. Sierra knows he thinks she’s Veronica and that he’s falling for her but continues to trick him through the fear that he wouldn’t like her if he knew what she looked like.

The film provides multiple plot points where Sierra could confess but she instead chooses to maintain the lie and even befriends Veronica, using her to keep up appearances.

While it’s understandable to be insecure, catfishing is illegal, yet it is excused in the name of love and in fact romanticized when, regardless of her actions, she ends up getting the guy.

Let’s not forget about the occasion when she quite literally sexually assaults him. Jamey goes on a date with Veronica that Sierra orchestrates via text message while lurking in the background. When he leans in to kiss Veronica, she ducks and tells him to close his eyes. She then motions for Sierra to get up and kiss him in her place.

 

New to Netflix:Sierra Burgess is A̶ ̶L̶o̶s̶e̶r̶ Kissing People Without Their Consent

— The Blurst of Times (@BatmanAnderson) September 12, 2018

 

Jamey is forced to kiss Sierra, thinking it’s Veronica, dragging up the major issue of consent. If a boy was doing this to a girl, it would be completely unacceptable, yet we are somehow expected to believe it’s romantic, simply because she’s the underdog.

Despite feeling victimized throughout many points during the film, Sierra still chooses to make fun of other people. When faced with the task of applying to universities, she jokes that saying she has schizophrenia to stand out on her application.

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that plagues the lives of its sufferers and Sierra makes light of it, considering it to be advantageous in her plight to attend a prestigious school. Her character lacks any sensitivity, a trait that pops up once more when she pretends to be deaf to avoid speaking to Jamey and blowing her cover.

It is without a doubt that Sierra Burgess is a terrible friend. Early on in the film, she ditches her best friend to spend time with Veronica and use her in her plight to get the boy.

However, in a near-sociopathic act of revenge, when Sierra sees Jamey kiss Veronica before a football game, she humiliates her in front of the entire school. Sierra hacks into her Instagram account and exposes Veronica’s private messages with an ex-boyfriend, including a video of them kissing.

 

Remember how Sierra Burgess is a Loser tried to make us feel bad for Sierra crying about her looks after she cyber bullied Veronica in front of the whole school? Whew, a mess

— Clara Mae (@ubeempress) September 12, 2018

 

The act is a serious privacy violation and lies somewhere between cyberbullying, revenge porn, slut-shaming and generally being the world’s shittiest friend, intentionally hurting somebody who was only trying to help her.

Sierra intentionally hurts Veronica, and, in the chaos of the scene, Jamey finds out she’s the person he’s been texting. She returns home in tears and proceeds to use her insecurities as an excuse for all she’s done wrong.

Despite lying to Jamie, slut-shaming Veronica and shooing away her best friend when given a better option, Sierra continues playing the victim. She blames her actions on the fact that she’s plus-sized as if that’s any excuse to be a bad person instead of taking responsibility and apologizing for undeniably awful behavior.

 

*spoiler alert* Sierra Burgess Is a Loser is a movie about Noah Centineo's character living happily ever after with his abuser.

— Shamir (@ShamirBailey) September 13, 2018

 

As the film dictates, she doesn’t need to. Jamey comes to her house before a school dance and delivers a romantic speech about how he doesn’t care what she looks like and her actions are instantly validated.

And beyond Sierra herself, the film is entirely problematic. Besides the previously mentioned catfishing, sexual assault and revenge porn, it also makes light of homophobic and transphobic views and generally feels uncomfortable to watch.

I’d tell you that Sierra Burgess is a Loser is now streaming on Netflix, but I’d honestly recommend just re-watching To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before instead.