Movies in Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before v. Sierra Burgess is a Loser

by Abbey Raison

Netflix movies are one of two things: super mediocre or are good enough to become time-honored classics. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Sierra Burgess is a Loser were released on Netflix within the month of August in 2018. Both movies are considered teenage rom-coms with a sprinkle of high school angst. Each movie is rushed through its own climax of dramatic proportions to a scandalously patched-up ending which includes mostly kissing (not unlike the John Hughes classic, Pretty in Pink). The question is: Which is the superior film?

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Laura Jean writes letters to every boy she’s ever had a crush on. During the movie, Laura Jean’s younger sister decides to send the letters to Laura Jean’s former crushes, in hopes that Laura Jean will get a boyfriend. Laura Jean’s target crush, Josh, is her older sister Margot’s ex-boyfriend. When Josh reads her letter and tells her they cannot be together, she makes a deal with Peter Kavinsky, also a letter receiver, to make Josh and Peter’s ex-girlfriend jealous. Peter and Laura Jean pretend to be dating to everyone they know and, of course, their flawless scheme to get back at their significant others backfires when she accidentally falls in love with him. Then she believes he is cheating on her so she immediately breaks up with Peter. Before the conclusion of the movie, Laura Jean has a heart-to-heart with Josh and realizes that she truly wants to be with Peter. She brings a letter to apologize for overreacting about something inconsequential. With this cheesy, John Hughes-esque ending, she and Peter kiss.

Sierra Burgess is a Loser

Sierra Burgess is an overweight teen who offers her tutoring abilities to the school through flyers with her number attached. A popular girl named Veronica picks on Sierra and takes her flyer down. Later that day, a cutely awkward boy, Jamey, asks Veronica for her phone number. Veronica gives Jamey a copy of Sierra’s number instead of her own. Jamey then texts Sierra, believing he is talking to Veronica. Sierra talks to him and pretends to be Veronica because she is afraid Jamey will not like the way she looks. Sierra catfishes him by making a deal with Veronica and trading her tutoring services for selfies. Sierra and Veronica eventually become good friends and Veronica uses Sierra’s extensive literary knowledge to impress a college boyfriend. Jamey ends up meeting Veronica in person and he kisses her. Sierra sees this and believes her friend betrayed her, so she exposes Veronica’s break up with her college boyfriend to make it look like she was cheating on Jamey the whole time in front of the whole school at a football game. Jamey then finds out that Sierra was cat-fishing him and gets angry. Then there is a large plot hole in which Sierra writes a song about how hard it is to be different as a teenager and apologizes to her friends. Veronica quickly forgives Sierra and somehow convinces Jamey to take Sierra to homecoming. The movie ends with a heartwarming make up with her friends and a kiss from Jamey.

So, which film is arguably better?

For starters, the male love interest is played by Noah Centineo, a dark-haired, broody-eyed actor who began his career in Disney Channel sitcoms. Pictured below, we see him as Jamey, giving a sunflower to Sierra, and as Peter Kavinsky with Laura-Jean.

The fact that the same actor plays the roles of both love interests makes the movies even more similar than if different actors had starred in them.

Each film has a different message, but one of the films obviously carries out the theme with a better plot. Sierra Burgess is a Loser shows how your looks are not the most important thing in a relationship and that it is okay to be different. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before explains that life does not always turn out they way you planned it to, but sometimes what happens is better than what was planned.

The way Sierra Burgess creates this theme is through cat-fishing. Cat-fishing is when you are pretending to be someone else online to get the attention of certain people. This is creepy; sexual predators on the internet use this technique. It is strange that the writers of this movie would choose such a terrifying method of interaction in a movie for teens. Sierra’s online acting supports poor behavior in the minds of young girls watching the film.

To All the Boys, on the other hand, uses the sweet love notes of a girl to bring interaction face-to-face. This is much more effective and makes this film seem much more realistic, allowing any girl who has written a love note to sympathize with Laura Jean.

Overall, though the movies do share many similarities, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before will win the hearts of many rom-com lovers. It contains the perfect balance of a cute relationship and drama, without going overboard.

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