Arts & Entertainment

Review: The summer’s battle of Netflix original rom-coms

Over the summer, Netflix released many great original films and TV shows that have sparked the interest of various audiences, especially in the romantic-comedy department. Flicks such as “The Kissing Booth” and “When We First Met” gave audiences high hopes for the rom-com selection and left them excited for more Netflix original films. At the end of August, Netflix released the original movie “To All the Boys I’ve Ever Loved Before” based on the novel of the same name by Jenny Han — and it went viral.

Without giving too much away, the story follows teenager Lara Jean Covey, played by upcoming actress Lana Condor, as her life derails when secret love letters she had written to five different boys get sent out anonymously. This leaves her to deal with the outcome of her exposure, which starts a quirky love story. Along with the catchy plot are some true powerhouse actors that appear, such as Janel Parrish from “Pretty Little Liars” and John Corbett from “Sex and the City.” However, if the storyline doesn’t catch your eye, then the love story sure will.

Noah Centineo from “The Fosters” plays Peter Kavinsky, the dreamy jock that falls victim to one of Lara Jean’s love letters —  and consequent captivating love connection. You may have seen the chemistry between Peter and Lara Jean all over social media, but you can’t fully appreciate it without watching the film. I strongly recommend this film to any hopeless romantic, as this is sure to be the top rom-com movie of 2018.

Because “To All the Boys I’ve Ever Loved Before” was such a hit, fans were impatiently anticipating another Netflix original rom-com to debut at the beginning of September: “Sierra Burgess is a Loser.” Sierra Burgess (Shannon Purser) is an overweight outcast high schooler who gets mistaken via text for popular mean girl Veronica by her crush, Centineo’s character, Jamey. In the end, Sierra and Veronica must work together to win over their own love life battles, resulting in an unlikely friendship. Sounds promising, right? Wrong.

The ideals of “Sierra Burgess is a Loser” are inspiring and empowering to outcasts and those with body image issues alike. However, it falls short in two offensive ways: Sierra catfishing in the relationship, and pretending to have a disability.

Besides the far too cliche ending, the entirety of the movie is Sierra catfishing Jamey as Veronica, constantly lying and going to extreme measures to be someone else in order to gain his love. We all know how things always play out on MTV’s “Catfish” — and this movie is just unrealistic. The end leaves you feeling disgusted and wondering why anyone would try to sexualize catfishing at all.

This film also falls flat when Sierra Burgess pretends to be deaf in order to mask her true voice in front of Jamey. Sierra talks to Jamey over the phone as Veronica, so when she actually converses with him as herself in real life, she puts on the role. The way she signs, makes little to no eye contact and uses a disability as a ploy to continue catfishing is just offensive — and it leaves a bad taste in your mouth after watching this movie.

Despite these issues, “Sierra Burgess is a Loser” did have two redeeming qualities: unlikely friendships are the best kind and to not judge a book by its cover. Besides that, “Sierra Burgess is a Loser” failed its highly anticipated launch. But fear not! If you are still looking for a great rom-com Netflix original, definitely watch “To All the Boys I’ve Ever Loved Before,” or really anything besides “Sierra Burgess is a Loser.”