Entertainment Movies

Is Netflix’s The Kissing Booth Problematic?

Have I deemed this movie unwatchable? Yes. Am I still going to watch the sequel? Unfortunately yes.

It was back in early summer of 2018, when things were normal, when I was introduced to the Netflix movie, The Kissing Booth. It’s been 2 years since I’ve watched the first film but let me tell you this is one movie experience that I will…..never forget. The film is based off a novel which itself was originated from a Wattpad story, which that factor alone really explains why this movie is the way it is. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great when emerging writers get their big break but this movie in general just had some issues for me personally and that’s why I’m writing this, to discuss my personal gripes. In a way I think this movie is kind of problematic, well i think one of the characters is a bit questionable.

The Movie In General

In the film, we’re introduced to Elle Evans and her best friend, Lee Flynn. They have a while list of really weird rules in their friendship including one rule that is, they don’t date each other’s relatives. This rule of course sets us for the “star crossed” lover story arc of Elle and Lee’s older brother, Noah Flynn, who I strongly dislike as a character but we’ll get into that later. Oh and this whole “romance” between Elle and Noah all begins at a kissing booth hence the title of the movie. Just to quickly put this out there but why were kissing booths ever a thing? The idea of having random people kiss you for money is just gross to me and is questionable from a sanitation stand point. I mean you probably have a 70% chance of getting mono from running a kissing booth. Not like that’s relevant to this movie at all but it’s a realization I had. Kissing booths are just gross. They need to be banned. Maybe thanks to COVID, that will actually happen.

The Characters In The Beginning Are Problematic

Alright so let’s dive into the million of reasons as to why I dislike this movie. Well the plot in general is just corny and I feel like it’s been done before. There are scenes in this movie that are so problematic. Let’s start with the biggest questionable part of this movie. This scene is when Elle ends up having to wear a skirt she outwore to school. It’s very short and as she says “shows off her lady bum”. I can tell by the dialogue that this was written on Wattpad. Anyways, at school, one of her classmate’s gropes her behind which then leads to Noah beating the crap of of him. So, already going into this movie we have sexual assault and to make it worse, Elle ends up forgiving the guy that did this and agrees to go on a date with him! I’m sorry but how and why did the writers think this was even okay to include? Of course, this dude doesn’t end up showing up to the date…..because Noah threatened him to stay away from Elle which brings us to our next point……Noah is a creep.

Noah Flynn Is Trash

I can’t even begin to dive into how problematic of a character Noah Flynn is, and I still to this day dislike the character. In fact, I don’t just dislike the character, I despise his character with a burning passion. Turns out he threatens any guy that wants to go out with Elle which is a huge red flag. However, the movie plays this as “awwww he’s such a protective dude, he loves her”. Yeah no, this is signs of being controlling and possessive, and points towards Noah as being abusive. To add onto this, he’s also a very violent person and throughout the movie is constantly getting in various fights. I get he’s protective but the fact he’s threatening people and is very “controlling” over Elle is just gross. I don’t find it cute or attractive, it’s pointing him as being a problematic male character with anger issues. There’s even a scene where Lee (Noah’s brother/Elle’s best friend) walks in on the two and once he notices Elle is injured, he instantly says to Noah “what did you do to her?”. Sorry but this is a huge red flag and then following this, the two brothers get into a fight which leads to Noah violently pinning Lee down to the ground. He’s unlikeable all the way around and the good looks don’t get rid of his problematic behavior. Of course though, the film fails to address this nor do they fail to have Noah hold himself accountable and try to work on his anger issues. They just gloss over it.

The Movie As A Whole Is Just B-A-D

So to sum most of things up, this movie is just not great. There’s scenes in the film that to me are just outright cringe worthy. For example, there is a scene when Elle accidentally goes into the men’s locker room and “teases” Noah when she won’t live. This is another dialogue sequence with Noah being controlling and aggressive. Big shocker there. Of course the two end up kissing at “The Kissing Booth” which then leads to them hooking up. They even bang each other near the Hollywood sign which is just so…..adventurous? Of course, Noah and Elle break up which then leads to them getting back together after Elle tells Lee that she loves Noah and wants to be with him. Again, Lee, seems very concerned about her having a relationship with his brother but ya know he wants her to be happy so he ends up accepting it. So in the end, everything works out unfortunately. Elle ends up with Noah then the two wish each other goodbye as Noah goes off to Harvard where he’ll probably continue to get in fights because that just in his nature. The movie then ends with Elle saying her heart will always belong to Noah Flynn. I wish the story ended there but it doesn’t because there’s another sequel, The Kissing Booth 2, hitting our Netflix screens on July 24th. I’m going to be honest, I don’t expect it to be nearly as bad as the first movie. However, I will admit that by saying that I’m already setting my expectations too high. As we reach our final point, I want to give my overall thoughts on the movie. It’s not that great of a movie but at the end of the day, it’s a teen romcom that doesn’t take itself that seriously. The characters are very bland to me with the best character of the movie being Lee Flynn. Aside from that, the film tries to paint Noah as a cliche male love interest with emotional problems and also a temper as a result. However these troupes make him not only unlikeable but questionable as a character. I’m not trying to put down the author that made this movie or wrote the original story either but I just think the problematic elements to the story rubbed me the wrong way. I’m intrigued to see if a sequel manages to improve from the first film or just stay with the theme that the original had. I don’t know, I guess we’ll see but I would still give this movie a lousy 4 out of 10 stars. Also, I know some people will not like my opinion but that’s the wonder of having an “opinion”, you don’t have to agree with people and you can think for yourself. If you loved this movie, then great, I was just among the percentage of people who did not find this movie that enjoyable.

What did you think of The Kissing Booth? Are you in the opinion that Noah as a character is just the worst? Let us know in the comments!

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