By Apple Parry
“The Kissing Booth” is truly the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Without analyzing the entire script, the side plot inconsistencies, or the incredibly overdone romantic plot, let’s talk about how sexist the film is.
The opening scene shows Elle’s childhood and longtime friendship with Lee Flynn. It also shows that Elle has always had a crush on Lee’s off limits older brother, Noah.
Based on just that montage, it’s obvious this movie is going to focus on yet another forbidden, bad-boy teen romance— unfortunately, it’s so much worse than that.
The next scene starts with Elle’s only pair of school regulation pants ripping. So, what is a girl to do other than wear a “ninth-grade skirt on an eleventh-grade body”?
All the important or authoritative men in Elle’s life comment on her skirt, starting with her dad. But her dad’s concerns are genuine and caring. He offers to pick up her “back-ups” and bring them to her at school.
On the way to school, Lee sarcastically tells Elle that with that skirt on she is seen as a “distraction.” Even as a joke, these remarks are harmful to both women and men. It encourages the objectification of women in a lighthearted manner.
Lee also has a tendency throughout the movie to think that, just because he’s her best friend, he can control her, or, at least, whom she dates.
Once they arrive at school, a football player with a man bun decides to slap her ass, and the Flynn brothers step up to defend her. Noah, the knight in shining leather, comes to the rescue, and they all get called into the principal’s office.
While waiting to be called in to the principal’s office, Noah claims, “Wearing a skirt like that is asking for it.” When Elle gets defensive, he dismisses it by saying the feminist rant wasn’t worth it. Clearly, this movie could have used Elle’s rebuttal.
Once called into the principal’s office, Elle must explain to the fourth man in a matter of minutes why she is wearing this stupidly small skirt. This event was just an excuse to include sexist comments, actions, and consequences. When discussing what happened Elle says, “dude touched my lady bump” making her sexual assault into a joke.
After a very weird detention, Elle agrees to go on a date with good ol’ grab ass, but she gets ditched.
The football player later tells Elle, “no boobs are worth a broken nose.” It’s almost poetic really, but it also implies that he only wanted Elle for her looks and body, and that she’s not even worth it.
Somehow, Elle blindly stumbles into the boy’s locker room, covered in paint with her shirt off. Read that sentence again and guess how the director finessed that scene into the movie.
Instead of running out of there like a sane 16-year-old girl, she struts past about 40 guys, picks up her shirt and walks out. This would be an empowering move, if it wasn’t just to piss off a guy and remind everyone she grew boobs over the summer.
Since they live in California, I would expect nothing less than a beach party at some point in this movie. It delivered. At this party, some douche continuously tries to force Elle to go to a hot tub with him, obviously with only one purpose in mind. But Noah shows up to defend her- once again.
A major flaw is that the director never lets Elle handle things by herself, showing young girls they should have a “big, strong man” to defend them at all times, rather than showing how they could deal with it alone, which is what happens much more often in the real world.
After Noah punches the guy, he yells at Elle to get in the car multiple times and hits the car. Life tip: if someone with a violent past starts yelling at you and hitting things, don’t get in his car!
Maybe it was for comedic purposes, but Elle has to jump on a trampoline, while in a skirt, exposing her underwear multiple times. I know this is small
— but that’s exactly the point. Seeing small things like this makes it seem okay because it was only for a short amount of time.
When Lee finds out that Noah and Elle are together, he tells Elle, “The only thing I had that he didn’t was you… and now he has that too.” That was Elle’s best friend not only calling her a “thing,” but saying she was Noah’s “thing”.
Speaking of Noah, the typecast bad boy is starting to get super old. Casting the same type of rebel, is extremely cliché. It encourages the ‘I can fix him’ phenomenon, where girls take a typically bad boy and try to change him for the better, which usually doesn’t work.
While concluding the movie, Elle claims that “there was a part of [her] that was always going to belong to Noah Flynn.”
I’ve heard this saying multiple times, and realized I’ve only ever heard it from women.
This kind of sexist content is obliterating all the progress we’ve made. It ignores what’s wrong or right and just focuses on what will get the movie the most exposure. Every male in Elle’s life has either been demeaning or subtly sexist, and that can only result in a damaged person, especially because when it really counts, Elle doesn’t stand up for herself.
Even for a movie based on an amateur young adult novel, this was astonishingly horrible. If you watched The Kissing Booth, congratulations! You and I both wasted an hour and forty-five minutes of our lives, that we can never, ever get back.