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YMMV / The Kissing Booth

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The film

  • Accidental Nightmare Fuel: The scene where Noah and Elle argue at a beach party is intended to be a dramatic moment, but many viewers thought it went beyond a lover's tiff situation into far more disturbing territory on account of Noah's behavior. After Noah beats the crap out of a guy for insulting Elle despite her urging him to let it go, she gets annoyed and storms off. Noah runs after her and starts repeatedly begging her to get in the car; she ignores him until Noah slams his hand on the car roof and shouts at her, leaving her shocked. It unintentionally came off as extremely uncomfortable, due to Noah (who is much taller and stronger than Elle) essentially trying to intimidate her into getting into a car where she'll be completely at his mercy. The fact he doesn't respect her initial refusal and her alarm at his outburst does not help in the slightest, nor does the fact that when she does get in the car he drives her to a seemingly remote location instead of her house (which is played off as romantic).
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  • Cliché Storm: A common criticism of the film is that it's jam-packed with teen romance cliches that were already seen as hackneyed about two decades ago. As Cynical Reviews notes at the beginning of his review of the movie "If you've seen more than two films in this genre, then you've already seen this one".
  • Critical Dissonance: A slight case. Critics were overwhelmingly scathing towards the film, while general audiences were a bit more positive towards it, though not by that much (for example, on Rotten Tomatoes the critic score is a measly 15%, while the audience score is 56%; while this is a big improvement it's still considered a 'rotten' score on the site).
  • Critical Research Failure: 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.
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  • Critic-Proof: Despite garnering mostly negative critic reviews, The Kissing Booth has received huge numbers of views on Netflix, with a reported one in three viewers re-watching it, and thus is regarded as a success. It even got two sequels.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: If not Hilarious in Hindsight if viewed as a bit of a Take That!. Noah's anger management problems and poor treatment of Elle have been criticized by many people as making him seem abusive and toxic. Jacob Elordi later went on the play Nate in Euphoria who is not too dissimilar from Noah, except in this case his troubling behavior is cranked Up to Eleven and played deadly seriously. Nate can even be seen as an outright deconstruction of Noah.
  • Idiot Plot: A lot of the drama in the second half of the movie could probably have been avoided if Elle and Noah had just been honest with Lee about how they felt right from the start.
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  • Memetic Psychopath: Noah tends to be interpreted this way by a lot of reviewers, since his excessively violent behavior towards other guys and controlling nature towards Elle makes him unintentionally frightening. There have even been suggestions to play horror movie music over the scenes to make it feel more appropriate. Even Netflix itself made a horror-style trailer for the film.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Rachel shows up out of nowhere after Lee is stood up at the Kissing Booth in front of everyone, tells him that she 'hopes he likes what he sees' after she kisses him and takes off his blindfold - implying that she's had a crush on him for a while - and they immediately begin dating for the rest of the movie. This is the first time Rachel's character appears, without any foreshadowing or build-up to her crush on Lee. He also immediately reciprocates despite the fact they'd apparently never even interacted prior to this and he'd spent a chunk of the movie crushing on Mia.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The confrontation scene, where Lee finds out about the secret relationship, begins with him noticing a cut on Elle's face (which she got after falling off a ladder) and immediately assuming that Noah struck her. Some critics argued that this should have been the moment where Noah was revealed to have a dark past where he might have physically abused an ex-girlfriend, tying into his behavior throughout the movie and leaving the rest of the runtime to confront him with his rage issues and do a redemption character arc. Unfortunately for them, the opportunity was as long as Lee's question.
  • Unfortunate Implications: A lot of the film’s detractors have pointed out that Noah comes across as quite abusive and controlling towards Elle, which is never really condemned in the movie itself, and has other content that comes off as outdated and sexist.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Arguably all three main protagonists at some point, though Noah especially. All of them manage to be rather unpleasant in their own way.
    • Lee being upset that Elle went behind his back to hook up with his brother and lied to him about it is understandable, but his reasoning behind not wanting them to be together comes across as really selfish, controlling, and immature. Rather than it being something like 'I don't want my BFF dating a violent womanizer', he admits he's jealous of his brother and resents that he 'always gets everything he wants, feeling that he's 'taking Elle away from him' and thus making it all about him rather than Elle.
    • Elle is right to be upset about Lee overreacting to her relationship with Noah, but she was also being selfish and idiotic by hiding it from Lee in the first place. She actually states in her narration how wrong it is that she keeps "Lying to [my] best friend"...but she keeps doing it anyway!
    • Noah is horrible to Elle and his brother a lot of the time, and a dick for not telling Lee about the relationship or encouraging Elle to come clean about it. The only excuse he has for all his jerkass behavior is that he has unresolved anger issues and is "wired that way", but this seems like a pretty flimsy explanation for tormenting Lee, controlling who Elle dates without her knowledge and consent, and beating the snot out of anyone who riles him up even a little.