By: Julia Wengier | Editor-in-chief
September 10, 2018
“Sierra Burgess is a Loser” was released on September 7, 2018. The Netflix original film centers around a high school senior named Sierra Burgess (Shannon Purser) who teams up with a popular cheerleader at her school, Veronica (Kristine Froseth), to win over the boys in their life.
After Jamey (Noah Centineo) texts Sierra thinking that she is Veronica, Sierra proposes a deal between her and Veronica: Sierra will tutor her so that she sounds smart around her boyfriend who’s in college, and Veronica will help Sierra pretend to be her. The two put aside their differences to help each other in secret, with only themselves and Sierra’s best friend Dan (RJ Cyler) in on it.
As Veronica is a typical pretty girl who also happens to struggle academically, and Sierra is a larger girl with unique (but not ugly) looks who is extremely intelligent, the team seems cliche in its very nature as part of a predictable storyline. Although it can be cliche at times, “Sierra Burgess” is a heartwarming tale that makes the audience believe in romance, and know that it includes people of all kinds, no matter how thin, popular, or materialistic they are.
Shannon Purser, who is previously known for her role as another awkward character in “Stranger Things,” portrays her role as Sierra perfectly- from the confidence and quick-witted character established at the beginning of the film, to the insecure girl who flows out towards the end, Purser was perfect in her portrayal of a teen who does not fit in.
Kristine Froseth and Noah Centineo also proved to be excellent actors; Froseth took on the difficult role of a stereotypical popular girl who also had depth to her character, and Centino did an adequate job of portraying his stereotypical character of an attractive boy who has depth to his mind. Centineo also played a major role in Netflix’s original film “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” which shows a hint of laziness on Netflix’s part, but also reflects well on Centineo’s skill.
The plot of the movie was somewhat predictable, but had some unexpected twists and elements that raised it to the next level. For example, it was subtly revealed why Veronica was so mean to Sierra before they teamed up; her life at home was far from perfect, and it reflected on her original character in the film. There was also inclusions of disabled people; specifically, those who are deaf and communicate through sign language. Finally, it established a heavy girl who was confident from the start, and didn’t let other people’s comments get the best of her. This drastically contrasts a Netflix original series, “Insatiable,” which is under fire for handling a controversial topic with outdated methods- a skinny actress in a fat-suit who loses weight without the use of dieting or exercise, seeking revenge on those who bullied her.
Relating to modern-day teenagers, “Sierra Burgess is a Loser” revolves around a relationship that is almost entirely over-the-phone, using texts, phone calls, and Facetime. It also relates to the desperate need of teenagers to find something special about themselves to present to college, which is almost never easy.
There were some aspects of the film that were unrealistic. This includes the scenes of Sierra at marching band which did not accurately represent what marching band is really like. Most importantly, however, the dialogue was standard teen romantic-comedy dialogue: that is, to say, poorly written and not how teenagers actually speak in any scenario.
As a Netflix original, “Sierra Burgess is a Loser” can only be accessed on Netflix. Netflix has proven to be very successful with its original content; “Stranger Things,” “Bojack Horseman,” “13 Reasons Why,” “Fuller House,” “The Kissing Booth,” “Black Mirror,” and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” are prime examples of this success. Becoming some of the most beloved content for people, Netflix can be predicted to pose a threat to cable television. One major flop, however, was the original series “Insatiable” as mentioned before.
Overall, “Sierra Burgess is a Loser” perfectly resonates with all teens- those who both fit in and do not fit in. The film is inclusive of minorities in America like those who are overweight, black people, and those with disabilities. It also encompasses different realms of high school- more than just football and cheerleading, it includes marching band (although it may not be accurately represented) and track, as well as relating to seniors in that they must find something special about themselves.
“Sierra Burgess is a Loser” is a romantic-comedy that will steal the hearts of its viewers and change the stigma of what high school romance usually looks like. With stellar actors, relatable struggles, and a heartwarming plot, this Netflix original is a must-see.