Netflix is doing it again. Ever since The Kissing Booth, Set it Up, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Netflix has been reintroducing the romantic comedy genre to new audiences as well as those of us who have been with the romcom since the 90s or even before then. Sierra Burgess is a Loser is just another in the line of Netflix produced romcoms that have made the summer heat much more bearable. Starring Netflix and Stranger Things darling, Shannon Purser as well as To All the Boys’ Noah Centineo, the film doesn’t go quite as hard as To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before but it comes pretty damn close.
The premise is simple. Sierra Burgess (Purser) is a loser. She has one friend. Her counselor tells her she can’t go to Standford because she doesn’t stand on her resume. She’s insecure. She doesn’t look like the girls in her school. She’s never been in love and she’s living in the shadow of her parents. Veronica (Kristine Froseth) is the most popular girl in school but her life outside of school is a mess. When she’s hit on by hot jock Jamey (Centineo), she gives him Sierra’s number. Thus begins a huge catfishing plot that is charmingly overwhelmed by the budding then the full-blown friendship that develops between Veronica and Sierra.
Catfishing plot aside, Centineo and Purser are charming together. Their chemistry isn’t as strong as it could be. There is no denying that Centineo is charismatic, but so is Purser. Purser is the star of the film, let’s be real. A lot of people on Tumblr are ooh-ing and aww-ing over Centineo (as they should because he’s gorgeous) but let’s not ignore the fact that Purser is making a name for herself in the Hollywood system while being beautiful in a way that defies the norms of the business. Taking that away from her is not fair. That being said, Purser crushed it as Sierra. She carried the film well and everything about her character is so raw and engaging. Not to mention, Purser has a wonderful, jazzy singing voice that is put on display here and, oh, is it a brilliant addition to the plot and just another reason to love the actress.
Perhaps the single best thing about this film is the fact that it focuses on the friendship between Sierra and Veronica even more than it focuses on the romance and that is something that romcoms don’t usually do. It’s especially wonderful given how rooted in the 80s Sierra Burgess is. Audiences who are older will really appreciate the John Huges feel of this film. From the synth-pop soundtrack to the inclusion of Alan Ruck and Lea Thompson, two actors who made their mark in 80s romantic comedy films. However, new audiences will jump at the chance to see the topic of friendship developed along with the romance. I’d almost say that Purser and Froseth have more chemistry than Purser and Centineo. Girls supporting girls is a movement in film I can get behind. This film just proves it.
Sierra Burgess might not be as good as To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. It is a film that needs to be watched. Not only does it tackle things like self-esteem, the dangers of catfishing, and the power of friendship, it also stars a host of talented and beautiful actors who bring their characters to life with emotional rawness and sparkling wit.
Shelby is currently adapting her favorite novel into a screenplay as well as toying around with a few spec scripts for a few of her favorite TV shows. She hopes to walk down the red carpet at the Emmys one day. She contributes a long list of actors, writers, friends and co-workers as the inspiration for her dreams and goals.
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