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The Kissing Booth Review Kiss of Death

Netflix Original - The Kissing Booth - Review

 

Netflix has delivered a product of complete cringe, a cliched and overly dramatic coming of age story that is built on very little meaning and substance. The Kissing Booth invites you to follow Elle, a teenage girl battling with herself to ignore the crush she has on her best friend’s older brother. This older brother comes in the form of Noah, a stereotypical, “handsome” jock, who actually acts as an all-around douche, originally sexist and controlling in nature. Noah’s character constantly tries to passively control Elle, whether it’s by telling her how to behave, telling other people to stay away from her or by literally dragging her by the wrist out of a room she doesn’t want to leave. This behavior is somehow translated as being “protective” and Elle actually finds the behavior endearing and sweet, leading to her growing infatuation.

This being said The Kissing Booth isn’t all that different to other teenage dramas such as Twilight, where everything in a teen’s world is the be all and end all. Where flairs of emotion and even rough handling is interpreted as just being “really into someone”. I can see the appeal from an angsty teen’s point of view; dramatic rainfall scenes and passionate expressions of emotion really come to light in The Kissing Booth. I must say I really am no longer the audience of this kind of film, and feel a little out of place reviewing it. With this being said I will now try to be a little more objective about the film’s content. 

Image result for the kissing booth

The Kissing Booth, although a coming of age story, rarely demostrates examples of growth, with 2D characters and weak motives; the characters are often faltering in genuine intent. Pretty much all of the characters kind of “grow” (and by grow I mean snap completely from their former personalities) within the last ten minutes of the film. No character develops slowly nor with great reason, and the character arcs are almost inexplicable. No one seemed to work to become a better person, nor does the audience get to feel that they have earned their realisations or epiphanies. Instead, The Kissing Booth‘s main storylines are solved in an instant, completely out of the blue, a quick fix to lead to a “happy” ending.

Another big problem I have with The Kissing Booth is the complete trivialisation of sexual assault. Where Elle arrives at school wearing a revealing skirt (as her trousers had ripped that same morning) and she is greeted with people taking unsolicited upskirt photos and one guy grabbing her exposed backside by surprise. The perpetrator is given detention, fine, I wasn’t expecting anything more than that, as the movie seems to want to stay light, which is completely understandable. Yet, only a scene later the same guy manages to act cute enough that Elle actually gives him her number, as though the unwanted contact was actually quite charming in hindsight. This sends a terrible message to an impressionable audience and I really wish Netflix would take more care to not treat assault as playfulness. 

Image result for the kissing booth

Unfortunately, The Kissing Booth does not have any saving graces that come to mind easily. Instead, I would like to highlight again that I am no longer the intended audience of a flick like this. The Kissing Booth may appeal to teenagers, with it’s stereotyped high-schoolers and inclusion of familiar mishaps (we’ve all had embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions, I’m sure). Plenty of relatable topics pop up, and some possibly more relevant to teenage life; this would make for a more blissful watch from those of a similar age. The Kissing Booth would suit a sleep over perhaps, and could certainly sit well with teens going through similar dilemmas.

Overall The Kissing Booth was not my cup of tea, really cliched and clearly dated in areas. The Kissing Booth lacked meaning and I doubt it to be very influential. On the other hand, it’s intended audience may relish in the fun and recognisable characters, and find entertainment in the seemingly trivial disputes that seem all too real in a teenage mind. Lastly, I would like to say there are plenty of themes in The Kissing Booth that do not sit well with me; the way that some of the boys treat Elle is embarrassing and dangerous, and certainly, no teenager should take note that they are acceptable in any way. 

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9 comments on “The Kissing Booth Review Kiss of Death

  1. I couldn’t bear how absurdly sexist this movie is. I’m really disappointed that Netflix approved this, it really teaches young girls that violent and controlling men are romantic. It’s disgusting.

    • If you talking about Noah being “violent and controlling” I would strongly disagree. Although he would get into fights with other males he says in the movie that he never starts the fight he only finishes it. Not once throughout the movie does Noah abuse Elle, or any female. It is also more normal for males to be more rowdy for lack of a better word because it is “in their nature”. Obviously everyone has their own a opinion on things but I just thought I would state something that is incorrect with your statement.

      • Alexander DeJohn

        Chloe, I’m with you on this. He is not trying to be controlling or sexist in the film. Right after the first fight Noah says nobody should treat women the way she was treated by that guy who slapped her ass. Most of his “controlling” actions were him coming off as chivalrous or as he said before like a big brother watching over his sister (pre-relationship that is). My bigger issue with the film is the fact towards the end when Elle got hurt and Lee assume Noah hit her made no sense. It’s not like at any point of the movie he seemed to have no control over his anger, most of his fights seemed to be for just causes. Now are fights the answer to disagreements? No but not at any point did he seem to just impulsively fight someone for stupid reasons. So I don’t understand why they tried to play him up as a violent kid. And there were characters introduced that were made to seem like they had bigger roles to play in the story then were actually given. I feel that either there were scenes that got cut, or the writing wasn’t developed well enough. Overall though I find the film to be a nice entertaining piece that I can sit back and relax to. And the performances were well done by the actors given with what they had to work with.

  2. Totally agree, in fact it’s how I found your article (As soon as I got to the part where she gives a sexual assaulter her number I googled to see if anyone else had been horrified by this, and found your article). I’m shocked Netflix has commissioned this content and it got past whatever review process they have… In post #metoo era there’s no excuse.

  3. adriansealelli

    IT’S THE BIGGEST SHIT EVER MADE

    • No it really isn’t but your opinion is “THE BIGGEST SHIT EVER MADE”. If you aren’t going to leave a useful remark about your personal view towards the movie than just don’t say anything.

  4. Madison Amick

    I think it makes sense why it appeals so well to teenage audiences , it’s based off a book that was written by a girl in high school

  5. I guess I’m technically the intended audience, but I found myself cringing and yelling at the characters the entire movie. The depiction of high school and high schoolers was completely inaccurate and painful to watch (every line that came out of the “OMG girls” mouths made me want to cry). I feel like this movie treats its audience, teenage girls, as idiots who are easily swayed by abs and an old school JB haircut (also terrible, btw). The plot barely holds itself together; the movie ends with Elle saying that everything happened because of the kissing booth, which is supposed to be the propelling force of this movie I guess? But I don’t really think that’s what happened. It seemed like her and Noah liked each other and would’ve ended up together anyway. IDK. I’m disappointed. And I totally agree- the glamorization of sexual assault just adds salt to the wound. Who would want to go out with some guy who just slapped their ass like a piece of meat??

  6. Bethany

    I think the creepiest thing for me was how much older Noah appeared – When they kiss he has to practically bend completely over. It just felt like she was a little girl and he was an older man preying on her. I get the “best friends older brother” thing, but I feel like the dynamic between Elle and Noah was way off and weird.
    And I know I dont even have to say it, but the OMG girls was the most lame, cliche overly done and not done well thing I’ve ever seen. They are so overly dripping in “ditzy” and I cant handle it.

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