Sierra Burgess Is A Loser is a film we’ve all seen before. Nothing radically new or fresh, it’s the story of a misfit navigating through high school, crushes, love, self-discovery and all that jazz. This is a formula that’s been working for Hollywood for years now and so, here we have another film!
This film isn’t by any means memorable. You’re likely to forget it in the midst of so many similar, infinitely better ones in the genre, but what makes this watchable is the immense acting potential of Shannon Purser. It’s not obvious, and she doesn’t really get to showcase her acting range within this mediocre film, but you know potential when you see it. After stints with Stranger Things (as Barb Holland) and Riverdale (as Ethel Muggs), this is her first full-fledged role. She does her best, but at the end of the day she has to operate within the confines of the cliched character she plays.
Speaking of cliches, this film reeks of them. There’s a black best friend (him being gay would have upped the cliche-meter by a hundred, but thankfully he’s not), a “hot jock” Sierra crushes on, that mean, white and popular super-model-ish chick in high-school..you name it. But one difference that I’ve noticed in this film is that the central character, Sierra in this film, doesn’t start out feeling like a victim. For the most part, right from the beginning, she’s shown to be confident enough in her own skin – partly because of her upbringing (she has very sane parents who taught her S-E-L-F E-S-T-E-E-M early on in life). And that’s one thing I liked. Trouble starts mid-way through the film, when Sierra does things that you wouldn’t expect of her. This also stands to show that the makers of the film have no intention of making Sierra play the good guy always. Like many teenagers her age, she too does stupid stuff thanks to momentary feelings. This actually warms you up more to this character.
The film could have been paced better. There’s warmth in some scenes, and Purser makes sure she delivers in these, but it’s all too familiar to give any special attention. Noah Centineo as Jamey is reliable as always, and has this charm that’s hard not to fall for. Looks like Netflix moved over from Radhika Apte to Centineo now (To The All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, and now this). The guy who plays Dan fits the bill. The girl who plays Veronica is good too. I’d love to see Purser in a meatier, “performance-oriented” role soon. There’s a lot of talent in her to watch out for!
The climax is a little too convenient, and could have been written better. We know it’s going to end well for all the folks in the film, but c’mon yaar, it cannot be that easy too! I would have liked some more drama towards the end, to be honest.
Overall, Sierra Burgess Is A Loser is not a loser, but isn’t a winner either. It’s your average film, and you could watch it if you don’t find anything better on Netflix. I’m going with 2.5 out of 5! The film is streaming on Netflix.
All the images used are screen-shots from the film’s official trailer on YouTube.