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Film / The Kissing Booth

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A 2018 teen romantic dramedy film, based on the novel of the same name by Beth Reeklesnote  and directed by Vince Marcello.

It revolves around Elle Evans (Joey King), a teenage girl who develops a crush on older student Noah Flynn (Jacob Elordi). However, one of the biggest obstacles to them getting together is Noah's brother Lee (Joel Courtney), who happens to be Elle's Best Friend with whom she has a set of strict 'friendship rules'. Chief amongst these rules is "No dating your friend's siblings", but will Elle's feelings for Noah trump her friendship with Lee?

It was followed by a sequel, The Kissing Booth 2, in 2020. A second sequel, The Kissing Booth 3 (secretly filmed in conjunction with The Kissing Booth 2), was released in 2021.


The Kissing Booth contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: The bespectacled nerd member of the student council has an obvious crush on Elle, who doesn't even notice it. Interestingly, aside from the OMG Girls, the other students (even Noah, surprisingly enough) don't treat him as a laughingstock.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: The Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure plays out differently compared to the novel. In the book, Lee's beef after the secret relationship is outed is that Elle lied to him. He doesn't particularly care that she hooked up with his brother; he is mad because Elle seems to care for Noah more than being honest with him, even though they are best friends. The conflict lasts less than a day before Elle quietly reconciles with Lee through a phone call, and the rest of the book is spent with Elle mustering up the courage to talk with Noah. The film puts a lot more emphasis on Elle's friendship with Lee and Lee's insecurity of being the most popular jock's younger brother, so Lee is mad at Elle for hooking up with Noah period; he never wanted them to hook up even if they were honest because he wanted to keep Elle for himself. As a result, his beef with her lasts longer and factors into her dilemma whether to stay with Noah or break up with him.
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  • Adaptational Backstory Change: Elle's mother died because of a car accident in the book. Here, she died of cancer.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Thanks to being a Composite Character, Warren takes over Patrick's role in the book as the one who forcefully tries to hit on Elle (and unlike Patrick, he is completely sober).
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • In the book, Elle has black hair and brown eyes, while Joey King is brown-haired and blue-eyed.
    • The Flynn brothers are black-haired and blue-eyed in the book. Their actors (Joel Courtney and Jacob Elordi) are both brown-haired and brown-eyed.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • The film changes the party at Warren's house to a gathering at Santa Monica. Rather than going to the Flynn's house, Elle and Noah go to the Hollywood sign after the former storms off.
    • There is a gap between Lee finding out about Elle's bruise and her relationship with Noah in the book. The film instead merges the two scenes so they happen one after another.
    • In the book, Elle reconciles with Noah before the Summer Dance, as a result, they spend the rest of the summer, including the trip to the beach house, as a couple. This would have considerably lengthened the film, so instead the two reconcile right before Noah is about to leave for Boston.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The "best friends' rules" that Elle and Lee envisaged is a film addition, as the book makes no mention of it.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: The first guy Elle asks out is the same guy who sexually harassed her in front of the whole school and nearly beat up Lee when he tried to defend her. And she has a huge crush on Noah, a womanizer who constantly gets into fights, threatens other guys into staying away from her without her knowledge or consent, and emotionally manipulates her. It's not just Elle either; practically every girl in school is head over heels for Noah.
  • Alliterative Name: Elle Evans.
  • Alpha Bitch: Mia, with Gwyneth and Olivia as Beta Bitches.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Miles the head student. He coughs when Elle promises that Noah is going to be at the kissing booth, and during the event itself, queues at the girls' line instead of the boys'. A boy who passes by, noticing this, gives him a flirtatious wink. This becomes a plot point in the sequel.
  • Artistic License: At one point, Elle and Noah visit the Hollywood sign and end up having sex right under it...which isn't actually possible. According to, "the closest you can get to the Hollywood Sign is up and above and that location is accessible by several hikes within Griffith Park". Oh, and it also has over 13 cameras including motion sensors, infrared cameras, and loudspeakers protecting it and is monitored 24/7 by the LAPD, for good measure.
  • Big Brother Instinct: The first time we see Noah get into a fight, it's to stop Tuppen from hitting Lee. When Lee attacks Noah after finding out about him and Elle, Noah notably doesn't fight back, but instead pins Lee to the ground until he calms down.
    • Lee also becomes enraged when he thinks that Noah hit Elle.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Elle and Noah have one at the kissing booth, complete with the camera spinning around them and the light-up sign behind them exploding with sparks in a not-so-subtle visual metaphor.
  • Big Fancy House: The Flynns live in one overlooking the beach; it includes a pool and is large enough to easily accommodate dozens of people from the local high school when the Flynns throw a party.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Implied with Noah; he's swooned over by just about every girl in school and wears an XL-sized groin guard.
  • Bland-Name Product: "Dance Dance Mania", with its four directional panels, is clearly a DanceDanceRevolution clone (a closer look at the UI suggests that it's created from Stepmania, a custom engine based on the series). Elle and Lee's favorite song is "Be Together" (an English cover of a J-pop song by TM Network), which is a featured license in one DDR game.
  • The Casanova: Noah is somewhat infamous for the number of girlfriends he goes through.
  • Childhood Friend: Elle and Lee. As Elle puts it, the two were literally born at the same time and have been together ever since.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Elle has known Noah for as long as Lee and has had a crush on him since she was a teen.
  • Composite Character:
    • Elle's circle of friends is much larger in the book. The film merges most of her girlfriends into the Girl Posse OMG Girls (Mia is a Canon Foreigner and Olivia and Georgia, while exist, do not form a separate group of their own) and switches out or eliminates her boy friends' relationship (Warren is made a Jerk Jock and takes the role of Patrick, Ollie is reduced to a few cameos, etc.) so it's more evident that Lee is her best friend.
    • In the book, the jock who grabs Elle's buttocks and the boy who asks her out for a date are different people. The film merges them into a single character, Tuppen.
    • The film transfers some of Brad's traits to Elle as the former is Demoted to Extra. Elle in the book is One of the Boys but has no particular liking to sports, while Brad is a soccer player. In the film, Elle loves sports and is part of the soccer club.
  • Friendship Moment: This happens during Elle's and Lee's reconciliation after the former's secret relationship is found out. At the arcade machine where they frequent, Lee is about to play DDM when he sees Elle sitting not too far away. He considers playing single but eventually inserts one more credit and nods for Elle to join. The two initially act awkward at each other but as the song progresses the tension melts and they begin to dance and laugh as they did before, before dissolving into a hug.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Elle insists on keeping her relationship with Noah secret to avoid this because Lee has made it very clear he doesn't want them romantically involved, even getting slightly upset they kissed at the kissing booth despite it being for charity. Inevitably, he does find out and things quickly go south. Elle and Noah effectively break up, while Lee stops talking to her. They eventually reconcile, but Elle then confronts him over how stupid it is she can't date his brother, arguing that it doesn't change their friendship and even suggesting they shouldn't be friends anymore if they would fall out over something like this. Lee concedes and helps her get to Noah in time to proclaim her love.
  • Fundraiser Carnival: One of the main plot points is that Elle and Lee need to come up with a fundraising idea for the school carnival and deciding on a kissing booth. Elle ends up being kissed by Noah at the booth, which results in the realizing they like each other as more than friends.
  • Girl Posse: The OMG girls, consisting of Alpha Bitch Mia and Beta Bitches Olivia and Gwyneth.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Lee, the scrawny unpopular dork, towards Noah, his muscular, jockish, and very popular brother. When he and Elle argue after her relationship with Noah is found out, Lee bitterly muses that Noah is able to get anything he wants, so Lee instituted the "relatives of your best friends are totally off-limits" rule because he thought that he could at least keep Elle for himself.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Dorky Lee is this for hot but bitchy and high-maintenance Mia.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The OMG Girls volunteer at the kissing booth so they can kiss Noah. But when Olivia has to kiss a bespectacled nerd, they force Elle to replace her. Naturally, the nerd ends up being queue-jumped by Noah at the last minute.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Noah is very tall and muscular, with 5'3" Elle looking very small next to him – she doesn't even come up to his shoulder.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Noah claims to Elle that he likes her because she's "the only girl who doesn't fall at [his] feet".
  • In-Series Nickname: Elle's full name is Rochelle, but she is never called that. Noah sometimes calls her "Shelly" to tease her, while the OMG Girls tend to slip up by calling her "Ellen".
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Noah casually mentions he got accepted into Harvard University. Besides playing football, he isn't mentioned or depicted as having any other skills or talents, nor are his grades mentioned, so it seems pretty bizarre that he'd be able to get into Harvard, one of the top-ranking universities in the world.
  • Jerk Jock:
    • Noah comes across as one; he plays football and is a smug womanizer who constantly gets into fights.
    • There's also Tuppen, the guy who grabs Elle's ass in front of the whole school and tries to beat up Lee for defending her. He gets better, however, apologizing to Elle by doing her ridiculous request of wearing a skirt in front of an entire class and asking her out for a date.
    • Warren, the guy who forcefully hits on Elle at Santa Monica and slut-shames her, causing Noah to fly into a rage and beat him up. This is a case of Adaptational Jerkass as Warren is actually one of Elle's best friends in the book.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Noah with Elle.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: Noah and Elle decide to try this at the end of the film after he leaves for Harvard. Elle actually acknowledges that she's not sure if this will work, but that she's happy to wait and see how things turn out.
  • Love-Obstructing Parents: Subverted. Mr. Evans flat-out tells Noah that he doesn't support him hooking up with his daughter, but he also tells him that Elle is free to be with whoever she likes, so if she chooses Noah, then he will have to respect her decision.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Dear Lord. Noah has apparently been caught making out with girls in a glass house numerous times. When he and Elle have sex for the first time, it's outside next to the Hollywood sign (which in real life has all sorts of cameras, sensors, and the LAPD monitoring it constantly). At one point, they actually go at it on a classroom desk before school starts and subsequently Elle has to find a way to steal the tape recordings from the principal's office when she realizes there are cameras in the room.
  • Maybe Ever After: Although the film ends with Elle and Noah as a couple, she states that she ultimately doesn't know if they'll be together forever, but that either way Noah will always have part of her heart.
  • Missing Mom: Elle's mother is shown to have died of cancer in the opening montage.
  • Mood Whiplash: The opening montage alternates between fun and happy memories of Elle growing up with the Flynn brothers and her struggle to see her mother slowly die of cancer.
  • My Brother is Off Limits!: One of the mains sources of drama in the story is that Elle has a crush on Lee's brother, but he wouldn't approve of a relationship between them. The same 'rule' applies to Elle's sibling too...only her brother is still in elementary school so it's kind of a moot point.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: While not murder, Noah always elects to solve problems by getting into a fight. This is a minor plot point, as this causes him trouble all the time. While they are dating, Elle also teaches him to control his anger issues, which seem to be working by the end.
  • Pac Man Fever: When playing the Dance Dance Mania arcade game, Elle and Lee clearly don't abide by the rules of real-life DanceDanceRevolution that it's based on. The two switch sides, step wherever and whenever they like, and do extended U-turns at some point, which are definite no-nos for supposed veterans of the game.note 
  • Parental Substitute: Mrs. Flynn to Elle. Elle comments that she couldn't have gone through it all after her mother's death without her.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Elle and Lee start out like this until Elle’s crush on Noah starts to take more precedence.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Lee finds out that Elle and Noah are dating and reacts as well as you'd expect. Also doubles as a Second-Act Breakup, as Noah stays away from Elle to figure out how they go from there. Elle laments that the next few weeks are "lonely", until the inevitable reconciliation.
  • Race for Your Love: At the end of the film, Elle and a masked Lee leave their costume-themed birthday party to catch Noah before he leaves for Harvard...only for it to turn out it was Noah under the mask the whole time.
  • Relationship Sabotage: Tuppen, the jock whom Elle tries to date, tells her that it's not that other guys haven't tried to ask her out all this time, but they were all threatened from doing it by Noah, who is in love with her himself.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Elle. The universe seems to conspire to get her half-naked. First, her pants rip, forcing her to wear a very short skirt to school. Then she gets extremely drunk at a party and begins table-dancing and stripping down to her underwear in front of everyone. And then she accidentally walks into the boys' locker room as she gets getting undressed due to being covered in paint. When Noah gets mad at her for "messing around" even though it was an accident and tries to drag her out, she embraces it to stick it to him and begins dancing in front of all the guys in her bra.
  • Romantic Ride Sharing: In the movie Elle rides on the back of Noah's bike, which marks the beginning of their forbidden romance, as her best friend Lee absolutely hates the idea of her dating his older brother. Later, it shows a montage of Elle sneaking into his room, riding on the back of his bike again, and screaming in delight.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Rachel for Lee. Her very first scene about halfway through the movie involves her popping up to kiss Lee at the kissing booth after he is rejected by Mia. Afterward, they begin a relationship.
  • Secret Relationship: Elle and Noah have one in the second half of the movie.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: After she wakes up from binge drinking at the house party, Elle wakes up wearing Noah's shirt in his room. Naturally, she freaks out at the implication, but is reassured by Noah that they didn't do anything funny the night before.
  • Sexy Surfacing Shot: Elle realized she has a crush on Noah when she sees him running out of the ocean, wet and shirtless.
  • Shirtless Scene: Both Lee and Noah at the beginning pool party. Noah has a couple more of these, later on, cementing his status as a Mr. Fanservice.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Courtesy of Noah, when he is asking for Elle to come home with him after the fight at the beach.
    Noah: Just get in the car, Elle, just get in the car. GET IN THE CAR, ELLE!
  • Time Passes Montage: The opening has this, showing how Elle and Lee grew up as siblings in all but name.
  • Video Arcade: Elle and Lee's favorite hangout spot since they were kids is a video arcade that has a Dance Dance Mania machine in it.
  • Wild Teen Party: Elle gets drunk at one early in the film and starts publicly stripping until Noah carries her out.