In the seemingly non-stop season of Netflix originals, the recently released “Sierra Burgess Is A Loser” fell flat, especially in comparison to its counterparts.
Critics have been saying that this modern day “Cyrano De Bergerac” gets caught in the old tropes while trying to be forward-thinking and romantic in 2018. “Sierra Burgess Is A Loser,” like the 1897 Edmond Rostand play that it draws many elements from, features a protagonist who fears that she is too ugly or unconventional to be loved at all, let alone by someone beautiful. While the continuation of this trope to the new Netflix original makes the parallels of the two quite clear, it lacks the self-awareness of the social climate to cater to the type of viewers that exist today.
Not only does “Sierra Burgess Is A Loser” miss the mark socially, but its unconventional love story never stood a chance in the wake of huge Netflix hit “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,”despite the fact that it also features Noah Centineo as the love interest. Even though Shannon Purser is adorably awkward at times, the messy and manipulative story line makes it even harder to picture who Netflix binge-watchers know as Peter Kavinsky with someone besides Lara Jean. In a social and political environment that is holding a magnifying glass over the issue of consent, “Sierra Burgess Is A Loser” fails to recognize its cringe-worthy disregard for everything and anything but its love story as Sierra catfishes her way to finding self-worth via the hot, popular boy.
In an article written by Hannah Giorgis for The Atlantic, Giorgis points out, “Sierra doesn’t seem to experience any genuine contrition; she revels in self-pity, convinced her insecurities justify her manipulative behavior. The film avoids the route of self-motivated confession and instead buries Sierra’s reveal well into the third act. It’s a strange choice, one that obscures any real insights about the effects of bullying and low self-esteem on teens.”
While this film could’ve been a sweet and wholesome teen rom-com, the characters lack the self-reflection they need in order for viewers and hopeless romantics to chalk their shortcomings up to them ‘just being teens’ or ‘young and in love.’ There is no real time dedicated to personal growth or the consequences of their actions until just before the closing credits. This leaves modern viewers with a weird taste in their mouths and the feeling that maybe this love story was just more messed up and creepy than it was cute.