Why Sierra Burgess Is A Loser stayed with me (no, it wasn't because of Noah Centineo)

There's nothing I don't love about movie nights. A good film and a bucket of buttered popcorn can keep my eyes glued for 90 minutes straight. Like most, I experience movies with a wide range of emotions like giggles or tears but hours after I've watched the film, it's business as usual and most of the plot has vanished from the corners of my mind. That changed when I watched Sierra Burgess Is A Loser.

Last summer, you couldn't escape talk of Noah Centineo being the Internet's latest crush. I couldn't either so I gave To All The Boys I've Loved Before a watch one afternoon. Of course I adored it, not only for his endearing charm and sun-kissed surfer looks but also because I'm a grown woman who is a sucker for syrupy teenage romance. A significant amount of Centineo stalking landed me onto another of his summer releases Sierra Burgess Is A Loser, where he starred alongside Shannon Purser (a.k.a. Barb, who was tearfully left behind in Stranger Thing's Upside Down) and Kristine Froseth amongst others. A single viewing of the movie was enough to imprint it in my mind, like the visual version of an earworm. If you intend on watching it, there are spoilers ahead so close this page and back away.

Illustration: Leo Alemao / Style File

I've read plenty about how the movie got it wrong with uncomfortable plot points and an all too expected conclusion; which I agree with in some part. But that's not what I'm here to talk about. The movie resonated with me on another level and here's why. For one, Sierra isn't your average protagonist. Previously, most movies with heroines who aren't conventionally attractive like The Princess Diaries, The Devil Wears Prada or Miss Congeniality follow the familiar trope of going through an ugly duckling transformation and ending up traditionally gorgeous, affable and high on self-esteem. Not here, though. With assuring parents and a supportive bestie, Sierra is confident, bold and smart from the get-go and didn't need a makeover to make it happen. Her depth is far deeper than skin and societal standards, she stays above the cruel teenage fray and is aware she's a sunflower through and through, not a run-of-the-mill rose. She is someone me, and I'm certain many others identified with on some level.
Then there are the retro touches. From the stunning golden hue throughout to Sierra's 80s-inspired wardrobe, vintage vibes were infused within the fabric of the movie. It may have belonged to an era that's beyond my time but that didn't stop me from the wave of wholesome nostalgia that hit every time the floral wallpaper came into view.
But what really made this movie click for me was its soundtrack. Over the years, I've developed an ear for seeking out melody and riffs woven into a film. In Sierra Burgess, the music stood out to me while blending into the movie's feel. The synthesised style, poignant lyrics and retro theme added depth to it. 'Sunflower' especially deserves a mention for being a touching anthem to embrace yourself the way you are.

It has been months since I watched the movie but time and again, my mind takes me back. Through its music especially as the album is still part of my current playlists. PSA: If the sole reason you watched Sierra Burgess Is A Loser is because you believe Noah Centineo is your future husband, his upcoming movie The Perfect Date (alongside Riverdale's Camila Mendes) is releasing on Netflix on April 12th. You're welcome.

The anatomy of a big cry

It had been building up for weeks now.

First, it was the rental agreement on the tiny studio apartment that fell through. One look at the sun laden balcony and I could envision myself sipping my morning cuppa there. But apparently you can't argue with landlords on the independent woman clause.
Then it was the guy who said he'd call but didn't. The date went so well and he genuinely seemed like a nice, thoughtful guy. Apparently those don't exist any more.

But every ounce of restraint and patience really came apart today. The expect pat on the back at work (and the cold, hard green that comes with it) landed up on her back, yet again.  No matter how hard I tried to swallow and bury it deep, I couldn't fight it. So unsurprisingly by early afternoon I found myself blubbering like a baby at how things had unfurled.

When Fergie said big girls don't cry, she was definitely lying. At first, it started with a sniffle. Then, teary eyes. Finally, when I realised I couldn't pass of my tears as allergies any longer, I made a beeline for the bathroom and bawled my eyes out while being as quiet as I possibly could.

Big cries are like pressure cookers. Every unpleasant occurrence is a new ingredient in the pot. It cooks, it marinates, it stews within you. And when your very being cannot swallow any more, the cooker whistles with a shoot of steam. You erupt into a weeping fountain of tears, snot and sniffles. Ugly criers, it is times like these I feel you completely. I've never known what is to sob while looking dainty and delicate. Mine include black streams of running makeup, multiple failed attempts to hold it back and racoon eyes.

Suddenly, relief washes over you. Like a calm after the storm, you're overcome by a sense of peace. Your sudden geyser of emotions has dried up and so have your tears. This feels cathartic. Since it isn't a magic trick, your problems may not have disappeared at the drop of a hat but you're feeling...dare we say, better? Of course you can do this. From bad dates to missed promotions, you really do have it in you to take it on. It may have been a messy, wet few minutes but damn, does it feel good.

Why we keep making resolutions every New Year

Depending on what kind of person you are, the advent of a spanking New Year can mean different things to you. If you look forward to it, then you're sure to be bounding with excitement at the clean slate with new planners and promises for the rest of the 12 months. If you fall on the opposite end of the spectrum, the beginning of the year and excitement surrounding it can seem unnecessary and silly, especially when it comes to making resolutions.

Come the end of December and the ritual of goal-setting is expected by almost everyone. They can be dedicated to self-improvement or additional fulfilment; there's no restriction on what a New Year's resolution can actually be. The most common one is that of getting fit, which is also why gym memberships see an increase in January every year. There's also the usual bag of eating clean, travelling more and staying motivated. They may be mentally vowed for the 12 months ahead but come February and already willpower begins dwindling. Lives start getting in the way and before you know it, it's summer, which translates to having fun in the sun, damn everything else. Before you know it, we've crossed the mid-year mark and all those resolutions we've pledged to ourselves have faded to a distant memory. Admittedly, it's a story we've lived through many times; for me especially.

Like a proper cliche, I always make resolutions every New Year. Admittedly, I've been setting similar resolutions for years now because I can't seem to see them through so it's an annual ritual, really. As cliched as it sounds, mine revolve around getting healthier, eating better and being more mindful. But year after year, why does the rest of the world and me insist on making resolutions we probably won't pay heed to in another month?

You could argue it's because we consider it unfinished business from the previous year. The missed workouts, skipped salads and unnecessary clothes with their tags still on are guilty reminders of our failures in the past year; which we try to rectify desperately.

Or it could be because every New Year is a beacon of hope. It's a crazy, frustrating, sometimes fulfilling and often unfair world we live in. Ever single day, there are calamities and tragedies; sometimes personal, sometimes in the world at large. I don't mean to sound depressing, just realistic. So when a brand New Year rolls around, everyone wants something to work towards, a goal that's bright and shiny; basically something positive to look forward to. Sure it's idealistic but hey, we're human.

So we waltz into each New Year, bright eyed and fresh faced. We repeat it with regularity like an annual tradition regardless of the results, brimming with hope, excitement and anticipation of what could be.

xo Dayle




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