I know a lot of people have been talking about Netflix’s ‘The Kissing Booth,’ and I really have been wanting to see it. I mean, teen rom com, right? I love this genre, and I always say this – I still admire how when you are young you are still hopeful about what love (first love) can bring you, and that thrill of realizing you have fallen for someone – is there a more joyous, euphoric feeling?
You really think ‘The Kissing Booth’ hits all the marks – Elle (Joey king) and Lee (Joel Courtney) have been best friends since they were babies, but there is now a kink – Joey has fallen for his older brother Noah. The thing is, they made ‘rules’ for each other when they were kids and one of them is that relatives are off limits romantically. It’s a nice sweet and predictable set up but cute, so I’m in. King is charming, and quirky, and is a natural. Elle hides the relationship from Lee, and I think we kind of know where this is all going to turn out. It worked for me, and I even found myself tearing up. Softie me, yes, I admit.
But then after watching it, I had some troubling thoughts. Noah is nice and cute in that suburban white boy way, but his character is pretty violent and controlling, and I want to tell Elle please stay away from him – he will be a wife beater. Plus, he seems to be manipulative – warning other guys not to date her, so there’s a deadly dangerous streak there. I have read numerous criticism about how the movie is obsessed with Elle’s body, and I kind of agree – it definitely has a sexist undertone. What bothers me is that the target market for this film is teenagers – and these ideologies will shape them.
But if you take it for what it is – a sweet and silly teen rom com, then why not, it would satisfy on that front. Just talk to kids after and point to them its shortcomings.