Netflix’s Teen Rom-Coms Ranked from Worst to Best

Netflix’s latest film “Tall Girl” was just released a few weeks ago, and it got me thinking about the stream of teen rom-coms we’ve been getting from Netflix for the past few years; the movies that have been advertised and shoved in our faces non-stop prior to their releases. That got me thinking about how all these films stack up against each other, so I decided to rank them from worst to best. Trust me, I’m doing you a favor by saving you from some of these.

Let’s jump right in.

Sierra Burgess is a Loser

Photo from IMDb

This film follows Sierra Burgess, an overweight high school student ruthlessly bullied for her physical appearance. When a boy texts her, thinking she’s the most popular girl in school, Sierra decides there’s no harm in pretending for a little while, and she enlists the help of the popular girl in question to deceive the guy she likes into thinking she’s someone else.

I absolutely hate this movie. Everything about it makes me rage. The whole romantic plot is based on a catfishing situation, and the lengths Sierra goes to in order to keep Jamie (her love interest and victim) in the dark are actually chilling and psychotic when removed from the romantic framing of the film. The fact that she constantly plays the victim and blames other people for the problems in her life is really problematic for me. It concerns me that this was a movie marketed to young girls who might think this is acceptable behaviour.

The Kissing Booth

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Elle and Lee have been best friends since birth. They do everything together and decide to run a kissing booth at the school carnival. The only problem: Elle and Lee aren’t the most popular, and their classmates are only interested in coming to the booth if popular students, like Lee’s brother Noah, attend. When Elle finds herself and Noah face to face at the booth, she has to choose between her best friend and his bad-boy brother. 

I have a mixed relationship with this movie. When I first watched it, I actually really liked it, but during a second viewing, it became clear that this film has some problems. For one, Noah’s character is a huge red flag. He has severe anger issues, and he’s bossy and domineering. The film seems to tell the audience that it’s okay to be with someone like this, and that if you love them you can change them. We all know this is a dangerous thing to tell young girls because it can lead them to getting stuck in toxic relationships. Other issues are that Lee is extremely possessive of Elle, all of the other characters are pretty flat, and overall the plot is really cheesy and basic.

Tall Girl

Photo from IMDb

In this film we follow Jodi, the tallest girl and person at her school. She is bullied for her height, and despite having a short guy friend, who is in love with her, she decides to pursue the new Swedish exchange student, Stig, the only guy she has ever seen who is taller than her. But Stig is snapped up by the popular mean girl and Jodi needs the help of her pageant-winning sister to make her up and help her feel confident in her own skin.

I actually enjoyed this one for the most part; it was silly and cliché, but not unwatchable. I found there was actually complexity to some of the characters – particularly Stig, who is not the one-dimensional jerk/popular guy you think he will be. This film does fall into the trap of characters doing questionable things that would never fly in real life, but my biggest complaint is that it just seemed sort of unrealistic. Jodi is six foot one. I’m short, so she seems super tall to me, but when I was in high school, I knew two or three girls who were that tall and I had guy friends who were pushing seven feet, so I’m calling B.S. on Jodi being the tallest person in her school.

The Perfect Date

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Desperate to save up enough money and distinguish himself enough to get into Harvard, Brooks Rattigan accepts an offer to chaperone his classmate’s rough-around-the-edges cousin, Celia, in exchange for payment from her rich parents. It becomes clear that there’s a lot of money in being a fake boyfriend, so he and his friend make an app where girls can request customizable fake dates. Suddenly, Brooks is flush with cash and trying on different personalities every night. But having so many personalities makes it hard for Brooks to remember who he is and he starts to lose himself.

I enjoyed this movie a lot more than I thought I would. Brooks is charming, even though he has a stupid name, and Celia is the first main female character from any of the movies on my list that I genuinely liked. The characters are a little cliché, but unlike the previous films, none of them do anything morally questionable, which was refreshing. The movie is cheesy and predictable, and the app doesn’t actually factor in as much as you would think, but it’s also cute so it’s close to the top of my list.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

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Lara Jean is a hopeless romantic who writes letters to all the boys she’s loved and hides them away. Her most recent love: her sister’s boyfriend Josh. It’s a secret she plans to take to her grave, but when the letters mysteriously get sent, she is left scrambling. She finds herself making a deal with another letter recipient, Peter, to pretend to date each other, which offers Lara Jean a way to avoid talking with Josh about her feelings, while Peter gets to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. But as with most romantic comedies, Peter is a little too irresistible and Lara Jean finds herself in trouble.

This movie is actually super cute and wholesome. Lara Jean is a realistic and likeable main character (she’s a terrible driver, has a super messy room, and is a lover of romance novels. She’s basically too cute for words). Peter is good boyfriend material; he is kind and sweet, and the two have a relationship that is believable and easy to root for. Of course the film isn’t without its fair share of clichés, and the plot is relatively predictable. However, the characters are well-rounded, interesting, and most importantly they’re likeable enough that the familiar story beats make you smile.