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Review: ‘Sierra Burgess is a Loser’ brings ‘80s vibe

Actors deliver life into characters, story

Courtesy+of+Netflix.
Courtesy of Netflix.

Courtesy of Netflix.

Courtesy of Netflix.

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A typical sob story of an unpopular girl crushing on the jock is brought into new light in “Sierra Burgess is a Loser.” The long-awaited Netflix original released on Friday, Sept. 7.

Sierra Burgess, the main female character, is played by Shannon Purser who is known for her roles as Barb in “Stranger Things” and Ethel in “Riverdale.” Sierra is an intelligent and sharp high school senior who aspires to be enrolled into Stanford. Like the normal cliché, she doesn’t fit in because she is overweight, a band geek and quite unpopular. However, she seems to be confident in herself as the beginning scene shows her starting her day with inspirational words, such as “you are a magnificent beast” which she says to herself in front of the mirror.

The movie is based on the relationship formed between Sierra and Jamey, played by Noah Centineo. Centineo is known for his role as Jesus in the last three seasons of NBC’s “The Fosters” and Peter Kavinsky in another Netflix original, “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.” Jamey is the quarterback for his football team, but doesn’t act like the stereotypical high school football player. His friends are considered losers which causes the start of Sierra and Jamey’s relationship.

“Sierra Burgess is a Loser” reminds early Taylor Swift fans of her music video for “You Belong With Me.” In the video, a band geek has a crush on a popular football player who is dating a popular cheerleader. Although they do have their differences, the stories are similar.

While the basic plot may seem too cute to be true, it is. Sierra catfishes Jamey throughout the entire movie. She asks Veronica (Kristine Froseth), the stereotypical popular cheerleader, for help with making sure Jamey doesn’t know she is really the one talking to him by FaceTime using Sierra’s voice and Veronica’s face.

As the movie plays, the audience learns Sierra’s mom (Lea Thompson) is overly positive and attempts to imprint self-confidence onto Sierra with acronyms. Sierra’s father (Alan Ruck), who is a renowned author, is seemingly more supportive to Sierra because he is the first one to hear her self-written song, “Sunflower.”

Purser’s version of “Sunflower” is brought into the movie after the intense climax where her positive mask is shattered. The scene allows the audience to hear how Sierra deals with the main conflict and then see the result of kindness that occurs due to the heartfelt melody. Two versions of the single are available Spotify.

An alternative ‘80s vibe is seen throughout the movie by incorporating vinyl and the clothing style of that time. On the other hand, the ‘80s vibe is contradicted with iPhones, social media and racial diversity, indicating the current era.

Multiple themes are shown throughout “Sierra Burgess is a Loser” but one stands out above them all: “Don’t let society dictate what beauty is,” quoted by Centineo. Having the scenes where Sierra is bullied by her peers aids in the main theme because although she is hearing these horrible things, her optimistic spirit shines through the bad.

The director created the beginning and end credits in a unique way. In the beginning, the names flash onto a black screen and go along with the beat to “Kid Wonder” by Allie X. The end credits feature scenes from the movie for the prominent characters while showing short paragraphs about the characters’ lives after the movie; this lets the audience knows there won’t be a sequel.

“Sierra Burgess is a Loser” is a heart-pulling romantic comedy that showcases a new age spin on the ‘80s. People who enjoyed “The Breakfast Club,” “Stranger Things” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” will adore “Sierra Burgess is a Loser.” The film earns a 3.5 out of 5 stars because of the confusing ending, marvelous scene set up and the life-changing moral to the story.

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Review: ‘Sierra Burgess is a Loser’ brings ‘80s vibe