- Netflix’s “The Kissing Booth” was met with positive and negative feedback from fans and critics.
- Some viewers have called the movie sexist, regressive, and problematic.
- The film also includes several rom-com tropes and clichés like a classic high-school party scene.
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Audiences also discover they have a shared affinity for Dance Dance Revolution, Elle’s mother has died, and Elle is totally crushing on Lee’s brother Noah — who has some serious anger issues.
Lee insists on the inclusion of rule number nine, which states that dating your best friend’s relatives is strictly forbidden. This is a rule that seems to only apply to Elle since her own sibling looks to be about 8 years old.
If you’re thinking that Lee included the rule because he’s secretly in love with her, he’s not. It’s worse because he simply doesn’t want his brother to be with her.
She rips her school-issued pants and tries to convince everyone that wearing a skirt — that she admittedly says she’s outgrown — is a more logical choice than wearing literally any other pair of pants.
When things start to get physical, Noah swoops in and tackles the guy who assaulted Elle. Noah continues to pummel the guy and also ignores Elle while she’s screaming at him to stop.
Noah treats Elle in a completely condescending manner after they’re both sent to the principal’s office. He ignores the fact that she’s totally unimpressed with his caveman routine and brushes off the idea she could deal with things herself.
He tells her she “has zero experience with guys” and informs her that “wearing a skirt like that is asking for it.”
In fact, the whole thing appears to be played for laughs when Elle tells the principal, “I am upset. Dude touched my lady bump.”
Here we meet Olivia, Mia, and Gwyneth, three super-popular girls whom Elle calls the OMG Girls. The trio has some of the worst lines in the entire movie and is obsessed with Noah.
Elle is understandably horrified after learning this and tells Noah, “It is not your job to monitor my dating life. The days of you controlling my life are over.”
Noah smirks and tells her, “We’ll see about that.”
This is supposed to be played off as the cutesy, flirtatious beginnings of their eventual relationship, but really it’s a major red-flag and just one of the many ways Noah tries to control Elle.
Honestly, I’m more interested in their parents’ finances than anything else in the entire movie.
One of the most frustrating things about “The Kissing Booth” is how little we know about the characters despite Elle’s frequent voice-overs. The movie never explains if this is typical behavior for Elle or if she’s acting out to try and get a reaction from Noah.
However, when Noah walks in wearing nothing but a towel, she still seems to think they might have fooled around together even though she wasn’t in a position to consent. Thankfully, Noah had Elle’s interest at heart and informs her he actually slept in another bedroom.
While covered in paint, Elle accidentally wanders into the boys’ locker room and takes off her shirt before she realizes where she is. Noah is horrified by all the boys gawking at her and demands she get out, which really isn’t the most unreasonable demand.
But Elle takes it as a challenge and decides to strut her stuff around the room, much to the delight of the horny onlookers. It’s a moment that reeks of faux empowerment since she’s only doing it to get a reaction out of Noah.
But the story of the movie’s kissing both is also super convoluted. Basically, Lee and Elle are able to convince the student body council to approve the booth by promising “A-list talent.” That means getting the OMG Girls to participate and promising that Noah will also be puckering up.
Of course, this is also a plan to put Lee in a position to be able to kiss the object of his affection, Mia, after Elle tells him, “Basically the only way she’d make out with you is if you paid for it.”
But believability aside, Lee’s plan to kiss Mia, fails, and then this totally random girl we’ve never seen before steps up to make out with him.
She exists only to show the audience that Lee isn’t secretly in love with Elle like you may have thought — he actually just wants to control her.
In fact, after the OMG Girls’ scheme goes awry, Elle and Noah wind up making out in the booth in front of everyone. Elle knows this is going to freak Lee out even though we’ve established he’s not secretly in love with her.
He tells her, “Just don’t end up grinding coochies with my brother or I’ll literally never talk to you again.”
Elle and Noah decide to give a relationship a try, but they decide to keep it secret from everyone. They have sex for the first time and they do it under the Hollywood sign. It’s supposed to be super romantic, but it was probably cold and uncomfortable.
But before all this, we see Noah’s anger problem flare-up in quick succession when he tries to once again rescue Elle by pummeling yet another guy, and then screams at her when she won’t get in his car. Noah’s actions should be big red-flags, but he manages to convince Elle he’ll change for her.
Again, one of the most frustrating parts of this movie is that much of Noah’s behavior is never explained. The audience never gets any sense of why Noah is so angry and constantly lashes out with violence.
Nor does the movie give the audience any inkling that he might be especially smart — the revelation that he’s been accepted to Harvard comes totally out of nowhere.
Again, Lee is ostensibly in a happy relationship with Rachel, the girl from the kissing booth, but he can’t deal with the fact that Elle is dating his brother. He apparently views Elle as more of an object than a person and he simply doesn’t want to share with Noah.
After Lee and Noah throw down in their front yard, Lee tells Elle, “You know, my whole life Noah has gotten everything that he has ever wanted. The only thing that I had that he didn’t was you. And now he has that too.”
Noah, who has been skipping school for the last few weeks, tells Elle he loves her in front of everyone at the prom.
She runs away.
When Elle gets home she opens a box that contains a baby photo signed with a note from her dead mother wishing her a happy birthday.
Elle confesses to Lee that she wants to be with Noah even if it means hurting him. Lee has had a change of heart and tells Elle that Noah already left for Harvard, but he’ll help her find him.
Of course, they say a tearful goodbye at Los Angeles International Airport. But at least the movie acknowledges how predictable the inclusion of the scene is as Elle says to Noah, “And don’t turn back for a final wave. That is way too cheesy and romantic.”
She marvels at how “all this happened just because of a kissing booth.”
The movie finally ends.