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March 31, 2019

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.


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