Everything wrong with ‘Sierra Burgess is a Loser’

So, when I saw the trailer for Sierra Burgess is a Loser back in July, I was incredibly stoked for it. I’ve loved Noah Centineo since I found out he was cast as Peter K in To All the Boys back in Summer 2017, and with the knowledge that he was going to be in a film released almost immediately after TATB with Shannon Purser(!) as the lead(!), life could not get any better.

With a great soundtrack, a phenomenal cast (I mean, they had Chrissy Metz…), a semi-decent plot base, and pretty interesting character development, Sierra Burgess had everything it needed to be amazing. And yet it still failed miserably.

Here’s an itemized list of everything that went wrong in Sierra Burgess is a Loser:

  1. The dialogue.

    There’s a lot of dialogue in Sierra Burgess is a Loser that is incredibly contrived. It’s starts off mostly as Veronica’s dialogue: her “villain” aspects are comically overdone, and no one would believe that anyone, even a bully, would say some of the things she does.

    But it doesn’t stop there. Jamey and Sierra’s conversations are superficial, and we’re expected to believe their romance has any chemistry simply because they send each other photos of animals. And they aren’t even good memes, either. Just stock photos. It’s sad, really.

    Then, of course, there’s the completely overdone way Veronica’s boyfriend Spence says he’s just trying to sleep with her. They had to make it so obvious that Sierra couldn’t possibly make a mistake in interpreting what he’s saying.

  2. The horrendous transphobic/homophobic jokes.

    I couldn’t stop myself from cringing throughout this entire movie because of these jokes. It was a running joke throughout the movie that Sierra would be mistaken for a lesbian (why? because she’s “unattractive”? okay…) and students would often make “”jokes”” about how she was secretly a man (refer to my last parenthetical).

    I don’t think I have to explain myself on this one, but all I have to say is that they could have shown that Sierra was ostracized at school without those dumb comments.

  3. Sierra does some shitty things…

    If you (somehow) haven’t heard, there’s a scene in Sierra Burgess where she kisses Jamey without his consent. She spies on his date with Veronica, then kisses him when he’s expecting to be kissing V. Then magical music plays and Sierra refers to it as “something that happens in books, but you never expect to happen in real life.” And then, at the end, Jamey kisses her and makes a joke about “having done this before.” There’s nothing romantic about sexual assault. There’s nothing funny about sexual assault. You’d think in the wake of the #metoo movement, Netflix would understand this.

    Not to mention, when having to talk to Jamey in real life, Sierra pathetically pretends to be deaf instead of accepting that she may have to face consequences for catfishing him. Plus, she’s just … cruel and hacks Veronica’s instagram to embarrass her in front of the whole school, for pretty much no reason other than the fact that she forgot their whole plan.

  4. …but learns nothing from it.

    Doing shitty things is one thing; most protagonists do. It’s how they learn and grow. But when they don’t learn from it — that’s when it becomes horrendous. Once Sierra actually faces consequences, she never learns from her actions. She sees herself as a victim, and we’re expected to see her that way too.

    Sure, she gives an impactful speech about how it sucks to be unattractive in high school and writes a great song about how she deserves to be loved too. And…I think that’s supposed to be the main moral of the story. It’s a good moral, but it’s hidden underneath all of these terrible things Sierra never repents for. She just gives excuses, cries, and texts Jamey a, like, three-word apology.

    Then, she gets a happy ending. Veronica forgives her and talks to Jamey for her. Jamey forgives her for manipulating him and for pretending to be deaf…even though his brother is actually deaf. It makes no sense. It shouldn’t have happened this way.

Believe me, I get what this movie was trying to do. I wanted so badly for it to be the coming of age story that we were all promised. If only they had written the plot completely differently, maybe it could have been.

Want to see how they could have written the plot differently? I uploaded a video in which I come up with three different endings Sierra Burgess could have had. Be sure to check it out.

Thanks for reading! Is there anything that I missed? What did you find wrong with Sierra Burgess is a Loser? Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments!

To keep up with me outside of this blog, follow me on twitter at @stephclaires and on instagram at @lovelyliterati

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