Today I am going to be reviewing teen flick ‘Sierra Burgess Is A Loser’ which graced Netflix in September 2018. Before I sat down to watch it, I had read multiple, negative reviews and after watching it, I agreed with them. Spoilers ahead!
The basic story revolves around Sierra Burgess, an unpopular girl who finds herself pretending to be the attractive Queen Bee (Veronica) in order to keep the interest of the jock she is texting (Jamey). She hides her identity, believing he will not like her for who she really is on the outside. Through their digital interactions, Jamey falls for Sierra’s personality, but despite how lovely and moral that sounds, there is actually a lot wrong with it. Here are all the reasons why I did not like this film:
1. The Ugly/Smart Girl Trope:
I don’t by any means find the actress who plays Sierra unattractive, but the film 100% portrays her that way. She is referred to as a man, a lesbian and even a transgender (which is an issue in itself) several times throughout the movie as well as a nerd. I’m tired of this trope. It’s basically stating that a woman cannot be intelligent and physically attractive at the same time. The same goes for the beautiful Veronica, who receives tutoring from Sierra so her college crush thinks she is smart. A lot of impressionable girls watching may feel that they need to be stick thin and gorgeous in order to attract a man. They may even dumb themselves down in the process. This is a dangerous message to send, even when a film has a happy ending.
2. Romanticising Catfishing:
When Veronica gives out Sierra’s number to Jamey – pretending it’s her own – Sierra immediately goes along with it and essentially catfishes Jamey who believes he is actually communicating with Veronica. Again, this may seem all sweet and innocent, but what Sierra is doing is wrong. Catfishing is illegal and can seriously damage another person’s life. Those watching may think this behaviour is okay when it isn’t. Sierra is dishonest about her identity from the beginning, which once again, spreads the message that the only way she can win the heart of a guy is to be somebody else. Not a great start to a relationship!
3. Sierra’s Stupid Decisions:
The best part about the whole film was Sierra and Veronica’s friendship. I loved watching them go from enemies to allies to good friends. When Sierra betrays Veronica by posting the photo of her kissing Spence with a malicious caption, it made me want to yell at the screen. It was such a cruel and callous act. To make matters worse, she also lies to her best friend Dan when he asks her to hang out with him; saying she needed an early night when in actual fact, she went to a party and got drunk. For somebody who is portrayed as super intelligent, Sierra makes a lot of poor decisions that affect everybody around her. Her biggest mistake? Pretending to be Veronica. How long did she honestly think she could keep that up before Jamey found out?
4. Jamey & Veronica Deserved Better…And Each Other!
After all of the lies and deceit and betrayal, I was astounded that Jamey still wanted to be with Sierra. Yes, she did her best to make amends with the song Sunflower, but she is hardly a trustworthy person. I believe Veronica – who ended up showing the most character growth – should’ve ended up with Jamey. After all, he liked her from the start and she even admitted to Sierra that Jamey was the kind of guy she should have been with. I don’t say this to be awful, but it’s very unrealistic that Jamey would go for Sierra. I know the creators were trying to send out positive messages but they went about it the wrong way.
5. The Unlikable Protagonist
Aren’t we supposed to root for the protagonist and want them to succeed? I just found Sierra so unlikable and to be brutally honest, quite forgettable. If you want a movie that exudes body positivity, don’t show a large girl going to great lengths to hide who she is out of fear that a boy won’t like her. I wanted Sierra’s character to be less angsty and more confident.
Well those are all of my thoughts! I hope I didn’t offend anybody that loved this film. I really struggled to enjoy it unfortunately. As a mother to a girl, I don’t want my daughter growing up thinking she has to dumb herself down or change who she is in order to obtain love. Let me know down below if you feel the same way. What did you think of this film? I welcome all feedback!
Thanks for reading!
Peace and love xoxoxo