Sierra Burgess Is a Loser
|Sierra Burgess Is a Loser|
|Directed by||Ian Samuels|
|Written by||Lindsey Beer|
|Cinematography||John W. Rutland|
|Edited by||Andrea Bottigliero|
Sierra Burgess Is a Loser is an American teen comedy-drama film directed by Ian Samuels from a screenplay by Lindsey Beer. The film is a modern retelling of the 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, and stars Shannon Purser, Kristine Froseth, RJ Cyler, and Noah Centineo. The film was released on September 7, 2018, by Netflix.
Sierra (Shannon Purser) is smart and aspirational, and she strives to get admitted into Stanford University. But she is unpopular, and many of her fellow students say that she is unattractive. Sierra is targeted by the criticism—which she answers with wit—and insults—which she sidesteps with charm—of her popular classmate Veronica (Kristine Froseth). Jamey is a handsome football player from another high school; he doesn't know that Veronica has a "boyfriend" attending college, and so Jamey asks for her phone number. Veronica wants to dodge Jamey's attention, and she also assumes that if Sierra found herself at the center of the handsome young man's attention, then Sierra would become self-conscious and feel ashamed. Thus, Veronica responds to Jamey's request by giving him Sierra's phone number, while misrepresenting it as being her own.
Jamey intends to write a text to Veronica, but instead it is received by Sierra. They exchange messages and they flirt. Although Sierra does understand that Jamey mistakenly believes he's communicating with some person other than herself, she develops a crush on the football player. In band class, Sierra tells her best friend Dan (RJ Cyler) that she has "met a guy" and she explains how it happened. Dan disapproves of Sierra for having concealed the facts from Jamey; he says, "It's called catfishing, and I'm pretty sure it's illegal." Sierra defends herself by saying that Jamey's decisions to engage with her have been based solely on his interactions with her, alone.
Sierra approaches Veronica, who is upset after being dumped by her college boyfriend, Spence, because he considers Veronica to be too dumb. She offers to tutor Veronica, in exchange for help in continuing to talk to Jamey. Veronica agrees, and they begin tutoring. As they continue helping each other, Sierra learns more about Veronica's frustrating family life, and Veronica develops appreciation for Sierra. Veronica reveals how her father abandoned her mother for a 22-year-old and how it has changed both her and her mother's lives. Veronica also has to deal with her overbearing mother who pushed her into cheerleading and popularity. One night, Jamey video calls Veronica, who appears on the camera screen while Sierra talks behind it. The video call soon ends when Jamey tells her there is lag, and as soon as they hang up, Sierra and Veronica gleefully laugh together over the fact that it worked. Although initially cold to one another, Veronica and Sierra end up being friends.
When Jamey asks Sierra, whom he believes to be Veronica, out on a date, Veronica goes with him as a favor to Sierra. However, when he tries to kiss Veronica, Veronica tells him to close his eyes and Sierra kisses him instead, and Jamey believes that he kissed Veronica. Sierra told her parents I can't live up to your expectations, I need to be my own person.
Before a football game, Jamey kisses Veronica. Veronica is angry at Jamey for doing this, because she feels like she is betraying Sierra. Jamey does not understand why she is angry, because he believes that she was the person he had kissed on their date. Sierra witnesses the kiss and assumes that Veronica kissed Jamey on purpose. As revenge, she decides to reveal that Veronica was dumped by her ex-boyfriend. During the football game, Veronica angrily tells Jamey the truth, and when a panicked Sierra attempts to defend herself and explain, he recognizes her voice. Shocked, he tells both Sierra and Veronica to stay away from him and he leaves.
Sierra writes a song called "Sunflower" and sends it to Veronica as an apology.Veronica told her mother off and stood up to her. That she needs to be her own person. Veronica shows up at Jamey's house to make him listen to the song and tells him that Sierra is a great girl. Jamey decides to forgive Sierra and take her to homecoming, bringing her a sunflower. Jamey expresses his feelings for Sierra and admits that she is exactly his type. They kiss again and go to homecoming together. At the dance, Veronica and Sierra see each other. Without a word, they reconcile by sharing an embrace, and are joined by Dan.
- Shannon Purser as Sierra Burgess, a bright but unpopular teenager
- Kristine Froseth as Veronica, a popular cheerleader and, eventually, reformed mean girl
- RJ Cyler as Dan, Sierra's best friend
- Noah Centineo as Jamey, a high school quarterback and Sierra's accidental love interest
- Loretta Devine as Mrs. Thomson, Sierra's English teacher
- Giorgia Whigham as Chrissy, Veronica's friend and fellow cheerleader
- Alice Lee as Mackenzie, Veronica's friend and fellow cheerleader
- Lea Thompson as Jules Osborn-Burgess, Sierra's mother
- Alan Ruck as Stephen Burgess, Sierra's father
- Mary Pat Gleason as Counselor Stevens, Sierra's high school guidance counselor
- Chrissy Metz as Trish, Veronica's overbearing and estranged mother
- Elizabeth Tovey as Brody, Veronica's little twin sister
- Mariam Tovey as Scooter, Veronica's little twin sister
- Matt Malloy as Biology Teacher
- Will Peltz as Spence
- Geoff Stults as Coach Johnson
- Wolfgang Novogratz as drew
The film was first announced in September 2016 as a modern retelling of the Cyrano de Bergerac story, to be directed by Ian Samuels from a screenplay by Lindsey Beer (Chaos Walking). Ben Hardy had been set to play the male lead role. In the same announcement, it was revealed Molly Smith and Thad Luckinbill's Black Label Media (Sicario, La La Land) would produce the film, with Beer executive producing. On January 18, 2018, it was announced that Netflix had acquired the rights to the film.
In December 2016, RJ Cyler was cast as the title character's best friend. On January 5, 2017, Shannon Purser was set to star as Sierra Burgess, and the following day, Kristine Froseth was cast in a supporting role. Later that same month, Will Peltz was also added. On February 1, 2017, Noah Centineo was set for the male lead, taking over from Ben Hardy. Also in February 2017, Lea Thompson and Alan Ruck were cast as the title character's parents.
In July 2017, songwriter and musician Leland announced that he had completed scoring the film, with Bram Inscore. In addition, he stated that the pair had also co-written a song with Troye Sivan and Allie X that would be featured in the film. The group co-wrote a song with the film's screenwriter, Lindsey Beer, entitled "Sunflower," an original song written in the script and performed by Shannon Purser.
The film was released on September 7, 2018, on Netflix.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 61% based on 38 reviews, with an average rating of 5.68/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, but her movie's okay - largely thanks to Shannon Purser's work in the title role, which is strong enough to counter an uneven narrative." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 60 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."
The film has been criticized by some for romanticizing certain character choices by the female protagonist, Sierra Burgess, specifically her catfishing and sharing a non-consensual kiss with her love interest, hacking, cyber bullying and mistreating her friend, and pretending to be deaf with support from one of her friends.
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