On Friday, Netflix released “Sierra Burgess is a Loser,” and despite the promising cast and important body positivity messages, it took some L’s.
As Netflix’s most recently released rom-com, “Sierra Burgess” follows behind some recent successes including “The Kissing Booth,” “To All the Boys I Loved Before” and “Alex Strangelove.” While they may all belong to the same beloved genre, “Sierra Burgess” comes up short.
The film begins when resident mean girl Veronica gets asked out by Jamey, and she gives him Sierra’s phone number instead of her own. Despite being intended as a cruel joke to fat shame and humiliate Sierra, what ensues is actually so much worse.
After receiving a text message from Jamey, Sierra eventually realizes that he thinks she’s Veronica. Rather than acting as any rational person would, Sierra catfishes Jamey, the high school quarterback and quasi-nerd of her dreams, and lets him think that she’s actually Veronica. Even worse, she gets Veronica in on it so that she’s a puppet for Sierra’s words. It’s a mess.
But this point and for most of the movie, everything is still bearable.
One reason for this is because of the cast, which includes three rising stars in young adult films including Shannon Purser of “Stranger Things,” Noah Centineo of “To All the Boys I Loved Before” and RJ Cyler of “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” The Netflix original also features Chrissy Metz who plays Kate Pearson in NBC’s “This Is Us.”
Even with all of this experience, “Sierra Burgess” still manages to fall flat mainly because of the ending.
In the effort of not giving away too much, I’ll keep my roast brief, but your spoiler warning starts here. The truth comes out as it was bound to do, but not because Veronica betrayed Sierra’s trust or because Jamey just wasn’t into her, but because Sierra publishes a private picture of Veronica online slutshaming her because Sierra thinks Veronica likes Jamey.
Then she doesn’t face any repercussions. This awful post gets published for everyone to see and then nothing.
Veronica and her best friend Dan stop talking to her for about two seconds and then they just forgive her. No, “Hey Sierra, that was messed up. What you did was really hurtful and wrong.” Dan says he won’t go to homecoming anymore, and Veronica and Sierra just stare across the dance floor at each other until they’re happy again, and then they’re all BFFs again.
Um, excuse me, what?
The film could have been a positive and fun movie about bullying, fat shaming, female friendships and other important things for young girls to see in media. Then they essentially undercut those aspects by saying there aren’t any consequences for slut-shaming and cyberbullying.
Because the plot was too easily wrapped up and because the positive messages were mostly lost in the end, “Sierra Burgess” is, in my opinion, a loser.
3.5/5 stars (and one of those stars is just because RJ Cyler is hilarious and wonderful)
Alexis Taylor is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.