Why Sierra Burgess Is a Loser Is Not the Win We All Thought It Would Be

With the releases of The Kissing Booth, Set it Up, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Netflix seems to be staging a coup on the regime of romantic comedies. Those aforementioned movies created a social media frenzy that came to a climax with the release of the trailer for Sierra Burgess Is a Loser in July. The star of the movie, Shannon Purser, became an Internet #Queen after her appearance as Barb in season one of Stranger Things, and fans were ecstatic to see her in a leading role. The film garnered even more attention after the release of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Twitter’s discovery of Noah Centineo, who plays the love interest in both films and has since become everyone’s Internet boyfriend.

I’ll admit, I was excited for Sierra Burgess Is a Loser. I’m a rom com fiend. Love Actually and La La Land are two of my top five favorite movies. I cried watching both Set it Up and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. But when I sat down and watched Sierra Burgess Is a Loser shortly after its release, I was shocked that so many people had been praising the movie.

The premise of the film is simple enough. Sierra (Shannon Purser), a brilliant high schooler with dreams of attending Stanford, is bullied by resident popular cheerleader Veronica (Kristine Forseth) on a daily basis. Eventually, Veronica gives Sierra’s phone number to Jamey (Noah Centineo), telling him its hers. This leads to Sierra pretending to be Veronica for the bulk of the movie, convinced her actions are okay because they’re her words that Jamey is falling for. Veronica and Sierra quickly become co-conspirators, and this is where problems begin to appear.

Veronica and Sierra’s friendship is admittedly heartwarming to watch – Veronica especially experiences some great character development. But what brings these girls together is catfishing a completely innocent teenage boy. They bond over tricking him into thinking he’s video chatting with Veronica when Sierra is the one talking. At one point, Veronica and Jamey go on a “date” and when he goes to kiss her at the end, she makes him close his eyes, pulls Sierra out from under a car, and has Jamey kiss Sierra thinking that it’s her. Not only is that really creepy, it’s really wrong. The movie paints this scene to be Veronica displaying her loyalty to Sierra, but Jamey consents to kissing Veronica, not Sierra. This scene may not be all that serious, but its connotations carry serious weight. In the #MeToo era, there has been so much education about the importance of consent, and yet Sierra Burgess Is a Loser seems to ignore all of it.

At the end of the film, after all the catfishing and lies, one might expect Sierra to face some repercussions from her actions, but she really doesn’t. Veronica forgives her almost instantly for publicly exposing her embarrassing break up, Jamey says NBD to the fact that she lied about who she was, and she even gets admitted to Stanford. The movie’s ending basically tells audiences that it’s okay to lie about who you are to someone because when the truth comes out they’ll like the real you anyway. It would appear the writers of this film have never watched the MTV masterpiece Catfish, because fifteen minutes of that show prove that this is far from reality. In reality, if Jamey had called Nev and Max and then found out that Veronica and Sierra were tricking him, he probably wouldn’t shrug his shoulders and say that it didn’t matter, he would probably be really angry, and rightfully so!



Image Source: Tunefind