I was super excited to watch "The Kissing Booth" on Netflix. I'm always a fan of a good chick flick or rom-com, and I heard nothing but good things about "The Kissing Booth." Much to my horror, I watched a movie where a girl prioritized her romantic life over her life-long friendship, and the guy she was interested in is flat out abusive. So, against my better judgment, I am rewatching "The Kissing Booth" to point out all the flaws in this movie.
The movie begins with Elle giving a quick recap of her life. In this recap, she mentions serious things like the death of her mother. She also mentions Noah getting into fights. This raises 2 major problems, 1. Noah doesn't know how to control his anger and is physically abusive.
People argue "oh well he's not physically abusive towards Elle!" but if he's already physically abusive towards others he is on the path to becoming physically abusive towards Elle. 2. Elle finds Noah getting into fights a major life event and not a bad one at that. She's romanticizing this which would not be helpful if he started abusing her in the future.
When Tuppin grabbed Elle's butt Noah did do the right thing by punching him. However, he went overboard with the fighting. When Elle questioned him about it he said: "I don't start fights, I finish them." What a jerk thing to say. He then tells her "wearing a skirt like that is asking for it."
Umm, promoting rape culture much? Elle asked "do you really want to go down that road?" and he decided against it because he "played the sexist conversation out in his head and always ended up sounding like a dick." Okay, so he doesn't care that he is a dick, just that he sounds like one?
Another thing that Noah did that is totally not okay is that he told Tuppin--and every other guy for that matter-- not to go out with Elle. There's no explanation for this besides maybe him wanting Elle all for himself. If he wants Elle than he should have the same chance as any other guy and it isn't fair to her to take all the other guys out of the running. Noah can't just go around getting everything he wants by threatening to fight people. This is not acceptable behavior. And then when she calls him and says "the days of you controlling my life are over" he laughs and says "we'll see about that." UMM HELLO?! Major red flags going up! If this doesn't say he's controlling than I don't know what does. Well, as I watch I'll probably see more of his controlling behavior.
Ok, so not Noah, but I felt like this had to be said. When Elle's drunk and takes off her clothes a guy takes a picture and goes "yearbook!" And he does it again in the locker room. Not only is this totally disgusting and wrong, it is very illegal, especially since she's a minor. According to this website, "It is a crime to take a sexual, nude or partly nude picture or video of anyone— regardless of their age—without their permission. However, it is a more serious crime if the person is under the age of 16. The maximum penalty for this is prison for up to 5 years.
In the case of 'sexting', this 5 years is on top of the ten years maximum discussed above!" It really irritates me that this movie jokes about taking pictures of minors without permission and saying that it will be posted in the yearbook. It just normalizes this behavior. The second time Noah gave the guy a threatening look and he says he'll delete the picture, but he doesn't delete it and instead, the picture is blown up and displayed at prom. Elle laughs it off but this is not okay and I don't know how the fictional school was okay with this and the yearbook guy was not charged. The seriousness of this crime was not addressed properly.
One point where Noah's potentially abusive ways turn to Elle was when he was trying to take her home from the beach party. After he had gotten in yet another fight, Elle ran away. So Noah started yelling at her to get in the car, eventually slamming his hand on a car and yelling "Get in the car Elle!" really loudly.
He calms down and adds "please," but this is borderline abusive and controlling behavior towards Elle which shows that there is a real possibility for more abusive behavior in the future. In the car, he says "I'm sorry, did you think I meant to fall for my brother's best friend?" Okay, Noah what exactly are you apologizing for here? Because it doesn't seem like you're apologizing for head-butting the guy when Elle told him not to or for yelling at her.
And then, instead of taking her home which was the reason she wanted a ride in the first place, he takes her to the top of the Hollywood sign. So if you're thinking "well maybe he shouldn't have gotten so angry, but he just wanted to make sure she got home safely" then you're wrong because he didn't just take her home like she wanted. And then he does some smooth talking and Elle, being the naive person she is, agrees to go out with him and they end up sleeping together. She did make a set of rules though, and one of those rules was not to tell anyone, especially not Lee.
Ever since they were little, Elle and Lee had a set of rules. One of these is "Rule #6. If you can't tell your best friend about something you're doing, you probably shouldn't be doing it." Yet she completely disregards this rule, along with rule #9 that says family members are off limits and sneaks around with Noah. Noah who doesn't want anyone knowing he has a girlfriend because he has "a reputation to uphold." Yes, that is a direct quote from the movie.
The golden rule for guys is "bros before hoes" and as for girls we have "chicks before dicks" or "sisters before misters." Either way, a cardinal rule is that friends take priority over romantic partners. So not telling Lee is bad, and she knows Lee would be mad if she told him. And guess what? He has a right to be! Because if anyone knows what a jerk Noah is, it's Lee! I know that I'm not alone in that my friends have dated some guys that I did not approve of, and eventually they've realized I'm right.
So Lee absolutely had a right to be mad. Even when Elle told Noah to stay in the room and let her handle Lee, he didn't listen because he's a piece of trash that only cares about himself. So when Elle stops seeing Noah after this I liked the movie. Then Noah shows up to pull this romantic stint at Prom. It was obvious that this was a surprise to Lee, which I think was stupid because Noah should have really consulted his brother before declaring his love for his brother's best friend. If Elle was like "yes I'll be with you I don't care about what Lee says!" then that would be really humiliating for Lee, and Noah shouldn't have put him in that situation.
Luckily Elle said the right thing which was that she can't keep hurting the people who she loved and then ran away. So Noah just ruined Elle's prom along with probably Lee and Rachel's since they went with her. Honestly, Lee and Rachel's prom would've been ruined either way. Noah apologized to Lee, but for tackling him on the lawn and hiding things with Elle, not for Prom. Hmm, I sense a pattern of Noah not apologizing for the things he should be apologizing for.
Then, unfortunately, the part I liked was over and Elle and Lee had a conversation. Elle tells Lee "being my best friend does not give you the right to tell me who I can love." While I guess that's kind of true, your best friend can see the person you're dating without being blinded by love, so if your best friend doesn't approve then you probably shouldn't be dating them.
Lee knows this, as Elle asks him what would happen if she didn't like Rachel and Lee responds "I guess I'd break up with her." I'm sure that if Noah were actually a good guy Lee would be able to overcome the fact that he's his brother and support Noah and Elle's relationship. However, Lee knows very well that Noah's a jerk and that's why he doesn't want Elle dating him.
So when Elle tells Lee "if you just can't accept that, then maybe you can't be part of my life" I get really mad at Elle. Bros before hoes! Elle and Lee have the relationship that Lee would come around and follow Rule #18, "always be happy for your best friend's successes," without her threatening their friendship. And Elle should realize that if Lee can't come around to accept it then the problem isn't that it's his brother, it's that Noah is not worthy of Elle.
Yes, Noah did do some good things like putting Elle to bed when she was drunk and saving her from potentially being sexually assaulted. However, as you can tell by the length of this article, I have many reasons why Noah Flynn is a jerk and potentially abusive.
Elle should have put her friendship with Lee before anything with Noah, yet she prioritizes this jerk over her BFF since literally day 1. So if you want a fictional relationship to strive for, strive for a relationship like Lee and Rachel's. Not Elle and Noah's.