BY KAREN SUROS
This article contains spoilers
This article contains spoilers
“Sierra Burgess Is a Loser” seems to be the latest and greatest in the teen rom-com movie craze. It follows the story of Sierra Burgess, played by Shannon Purser, a smart yet unpopular high school student who receives a wrong number text that spurs a whirlwind romance. The catch is, Jamey (Noah Centineo), her love interest, thinks he’s flirting with Veronica (Kristine Froseth), the desirable cheerleader. Sierra enlists Veronica’s help to catfish Jamey. Yes, they went there.
Upon watching the movie, the audience may see some familiar faces. Shannon Purser has been on the hit shows “Riverdale” and “Stranger Things.” She plays the character of Sierra Burgess well, bringing a unique air of relatability to the screen. Noah Centineo (Jamey), was recently in another Netflix Original, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” Fans of his work will not be disappointed by his performance, as he portrays an adorable sweetheart.
Additionally, audiences get to see Noah Centineo be infuriatingly endearing as the caring older brother Jamey. His younger brother, played by Cochise Zornoza, is deaf. That’s another thing that’s not often seen on TV– the inclusion of a deaf character– and his loving relationship with his brother is a highlight of “Sierra Burgess Is a Loser.”
“Sierra Burgess Is a Loser” is relatable in more ways than one. A number of common issues in the lives of teens are explored. There’s pressure (from parents and society alike), having to live in the shadow of successful parents, catfishing and dealing with insecurities. It’s a lot more fun to watch a film when the main characters come off as approachable, as viewers may see themselves in their position.
Sierra isn’t the average teen protagonist. It’s not often that characters like her get some time in the spotlight, and if they do, it’s often with a “makeover” twist. While she does deal with comments about her size and the movie places somewhat of an emphasis on looks, Sierra does not undergo any crazy changes to make her more attractive– especially not for a guy.
Certain elements deserve a little more recognition. Dan, portrayed by R.J. Cyler, steals the spotlight for sure. He is the spunky, vaguely stereotypical best friend to Sierra. A true ride or die, he’ll do anything for his friend– even the things that she doesn’t want him to do– and sticks by her side through it all.
Audiences have the privilege of hearing Shannon Purser, who plays Sierra, sing. Her melodic voice turns out to be yet another high point in the movie.
It’s also nice that the friend who supports the online relationship actually started off as a foe. Veronica, played by Kristine Froseth, becomes a close friend throughout the course of their mutual partnership. Their friendship is refreshing and another high point.
The film does not come without criticism and controversy, though. The concept of “catfishing” is pretty messed up. In real life, would anyone be so quick to forgive and understand as Jamey? No, but that’s why everyone is in love with Noah Centineo for being so down-to-earth, on and off screen.
There are a few scenes that don’t exactly sit well. The entire concept of catfishing is unpopular and frowned upon, with good reason. In this particular movie, there’s a kissing scene between Jamey (Noah Centineo) and Sierra (Shannon Purser)– but Jamey doesn’t know about it. In addition, while there is a deaf character, his disability is used in a comedic bit where Sierra acts deaf to avoid talking to Jamey.
“Sierra Burgess Is a Loser” ties up loose ends in a happy ending. Despite its controversial moments, the movie is decent and contains some admirable characters. There’s an important message to understand here: there’s truly more to a person than meets the eye. Making an effort to understand someone pays off, whether it’s a “loser,” a mean cheerleader or a jock.
- Relatable characters
- Amusing plot
- Important message
- controversial themes
- lack of development in some characters
Photo curtesy of Fan Fest