Sierra Burgess is a Loser Falls Short of Netflix’s Previous Success


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Spoilers Ahead!

Recently, Netflix has been pumping out romantic comedy after romantic comedy, and each of them have been an absolute delight. From the wholesome fun of Set it Up to the teen sensation based on the beloved book, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, these romantic comedies have provided a sort of comfort for those of all ages.

Netflix’s newest addition, Sierra Burgess is a Loser, had the potential to be a wonderful coming-of-age story from the perspective of a plus sized teenage girl. But, the movie falls short in all the areas that matter, providing viewers with a film that does not tackle the ideas of body insecurity and bullying, but rather mentions them from time to time without fully diving in.

The plot is as follows; Sierra Burgess, a high school senior, posts her phone number on school bulletin boards in an effort to be hired as a tutor. When the mean cheerleader Veronica gets hit on by the delightfully sweet Jamey, Veronica gives him Sierra’s number as her own to get him to leave. Jamey texts Sierra, and they begin to fall in love over the phone as Sierra pretends to be Veronica.

The actors are delightful, and it is certainly not their fault that the movie falls short. Sierra Burgess, the title character, proves herself to be entirely one-dimensional. She is the typical band-geek, who casually knows three languages and has an almost perfect score on her SATs. She plays the flute in the marching band, does very well in class, and tutors in her free time. However, Sierra has no depth, no underlying character traits that are revealed over time. As the movie continues, she does not develop in the slightest. She remains the same exact character from the first second she steps on the screen to the last. There are moments where it appears change might be around the corner, but she almost immediately resorts back to herself.

The potential in having Sierra Burgess as a plus-sized romantic lead is groundbreaking in so many ways. Having a film center on a plus-sized woman who does not spend the entire plot worrying about losing weight or trying to fit into society should be refreshing, but Sierra Burgess is a Loser does not deliver in this aspect. Sierra spends the entire movie on the phone with her romantic interest, Jamey; she fears an instant rejection when he discovers what she looks like. When her real identity is revealed, Jamey admits that he never would have been interested her because of how she looks, confirming this fear.

This is a problem. The movie’s message should have centered around looking past one’s appearance and getting to know her regardless of how she looks. Jamey goes on to say that he still likes Sierra, but he likes her despite of her outward appearance. Rather than encouraging body positivity, it tells the public that even the nicest guys base their opinion on appearance rather than personality. This movie supports the idea of judging a book by its cover, and that seems to be the opposite of what they were hoping for.

Sierra Burgess is a Loser failed to meet the expectations I held. With a confusing, unrealistic plot and underdeveloped characters, the movie was a disappointment from start to finish.