Netflix favorite Shannon Purser is back as a leading lady in Sierra Burgess is a Loser, the streaming service’s latest rom-com after a summer full of hits. With Purser as the titular character, the film follows the teenage writing prodigy as she tries to survive her final year of high school while being an outcast. She’s got wicked wit, a great best friend and parents that love and support her. But, like many of us at that age, her body image and fear of being rejected create limitations. So when the cute jock Jamey, played by Twitter’s latest boyfriend, Noah Centineo, pursues her via text message under false pretenses, Sierra takes it as opportunity to let a boy get to know her without the risk. It may play as predictably as most rom-coms, but the cast still charms.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the epitome of unattainable teenage fantasies, treading knee-deep in the most recognisable of rom-com cliches that it threatens to give you a cavity or two. But of course director Susan Johnson knows that. When we meet our romantically hopeless hero Lara Jean (Lana Condor), she’s running in a luscious field in a flowing regal gown to meet the boy of her affections, Josh (Israel Broussard). One problem: Josh is dating her sister, Margot (Janel Parrish), and is ceremoniously dumped when she heads to Scotland for university. (I, a Scottish person, have qualms but that’s for another time.) The opening is like something straight out of a sappy romance novel – because it is. Lara Jean is a classic hopeless romantic, with a tendency to daydream about falling in love instead of experiencing it herself, drawing on love stories and John Hughes movies for inspiration. The film similarly wears its influences on its sleeve, likely making a new generation of teens succumb to the never-ceasing power of the rom-com.