Exclusive Review of Ian Samuel’s ‘Sierra Burgess is a Big Loser’.

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Sierra Burgess is a self-love rom-com romp…

Sierra Burgess is a Big Loser sees the eponymous teenager falling in love via text with a jock from another school called James. The catch to this is a case of mistaken identity: James thinks she is Victoria, high school bully/ cheerleader, and Sierra is afraid to reveal herself out of fear of rejection.  

Sierra and James fall in love via writing and internet communications rather than through aesthetics or physicality. Whilst James may initially like Sierra based off her deceitful use of Veronica’s image, it’s Sierra’s voice which he falls for. Sierra Burgess is a Big Loser more importantly, in a social landscape that places great value on appearance on the internet, deals with a young woman who dislikes her own appearance so much that she is reluctant to recognise her own beauty.  

Another interesting facet of this film is the budding friendship that grows between Veronica and Sierra. They even grow so close that Veronica gives Sierra tips for wooing James. In return, Sierra helps Veronica understand that she doesn’t need a partner to feel good about herself, likewise Veronica teaches Sierra to love herself.  

Shannon Purser, best known as Barb from Stranger Things, is a strong casting choice from Netflix for the role of Sierra. Established already as Barb, the stalwart and relatable friend, she stays relatable in this new Netflix outing. Casting her as a nerd-like character, the film avoids pitfalls and tropes of other romantic comedies such as She’s All That and The Outcast who have their nerdy women with large clunky glasses. Of course, once these glasses are cast off the woman is revealed as a super model. This film eschews that horrifically patriarchal trope, Sierra never has this moment because it’s unnecessary; she doesn’t have to change and a man can still love her for who she is. 

With a relatable cast and a plot that doesn’t suffer from many of the clichés that normally befall the genre, this is a fine addition to the Netflix Originals Roster. Showing self-love and the beautiful aspects of individuals that are far more than skin deep, the film will surely tug at your heart strings.  

3/5

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