Film Review: Sierra Burgess is a Loser

Recently Netflix has been on point bringing out new rom-com movies, but they may have missed the mark a little with Sierra Burgess is a Loser.

 

*spoilers ahead*

The film follows Sierra Burgess, a high schooler who keeps to herself, aims to go to Yale, and doesn’t exactly fit the stereotypical idea of beauty (which I think she points out to us a few too many times). When Sierra mistakenly receives a text from Jamey, the quarterback from a nearby high school, she begins to ‘catfish’ him after finding out the text was meant for cheerleader Veronica. From the outside it looked promising, a progressive rom-com that promotes body positivity. But after watching the film, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Why?

 

Being gay is used as an insult multiple times.

Veronica’s mom says her “father would die” if she was “playing for the other team”.  This is pretty obviously homophobic, and I don’t think it needs more explaining. Veronica then goes on to imply that Sierra looks like a lesbian because she “has no taste”.  This is a stereotype that is not only untrue, but also offensive. These are only two examples; the movie includes many more offensive ‘jokes’ about sexual orientation and gender.

 

Sierra pretends to be deaf.

When Sierra runs into Jamey and his brother at the park, she doesn’t want him to hear her voice in case he recognises it from their phone calls and realises she’s not Veronica. Instead of talking, Sierra attempts to speak in sign language and pretends she’s deaf. It’s then revealed that Jamey’s brother actually is deaf and what Sierra had signed made no sense. Using deafness and ASL as a comedic tool is insensitive and offensive.

 

Jamey is kissed without his consent.

When Veronica goes on a date with Jamey, Sierra lurks in the background texting Veronica what she should do/say (creepy enough). When Jamey asks to kiss Veronica, she forces him to close his eyes, so that Sierra can kiss him instead. Jamey has no idea who he is kissing. How is that okay?!

 

Sierra is forgiven almost instantly.

Not only does Sierra majorly catfish an innocent person, she lies to her best friend and parents, and then leaks Veronica’s private text messages to the whole school. What Sierra did was nasty and selfish. But then she sings a song, uses her looks as an excuse, and all of a sudden, she’s forgiven. Catfishing is romanticized and not only is this unrealistic, it’s a damaging message to send out.