The Kissing Booth

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The Kissing Booth
The Kissing Booth.png
Official release poster
Directed byVince Marcello
Written byVince Marcello
Based onThe Kissing Booth
by Beth Reekles
Produced by
  • Ed Glauser
  • Andrew Cole-Bulgin
  • Vince Marcello
  • Michele Weisler
CinematographyAnastas N. Michos
Edited byPaul Millspaugh
Music byPatrick Kirst
Komixx Entertainment
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • May 11, 2018 (2018-05-11)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Kissing Booth is a 2018 American teen romantic comedy film written and directed by Vince Marcello, based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Beth Reekles.[1] It stars Joey King, Jacob Elordi, and Joel Courtney. The film follows Elle (King), a quirky, late blooming teenager whose budding romance with high school senior and bad boy Noah (Elordi) puts her lifelong friendship with Noah's younger brother Lee (Courtney) in jeopardy.

The Kissing Booth was released on Netflix on May 11, 2018, and was dubbed a commercial success by the service, due to it being widely viewed by subscribers, leading to the eventual production of a trilogy of films. The film was largely panned by critics, who deemed its storyline and themes to be clichéd. A sequel, The Kissing Booth 2, was released on July 24, 2020, and the third film, The Kissing Booth 3, was released on August 11, 2021.


Elle Evans and Lee Flynn have been best friends all their lives due to their mothers growing up together and having a deep bond.

As the two grow up they loved to dance on an arcade dance machine modeled after Dance Dance Revolution. When Elle is 11, her mother becomes terminally ill and, three years later, passes away. As she grows up, Elle's crush on Lee's popular older brother, Noah, deepens, but she tries her hardest to ignore it.

On the first day of junior year, Elle's school uniform pants split. She has to wear her school uniform skirt from freshman year and become the center of attention after school. An older student, Tuppen, inappropriately slaps Elle's buttocks. Noah steps in and fights Tuppen. Tuppen, Noah, and Elle are served with detention, where Tuppen apologizes. Elle later accepts his request for a date. Tuppen does not show up, though, after confessing to Elle that Noah has warned everyone not to pursue Elle romantically.

Elle and Lee dream up the idea of a "Kissing Booth" for their school fundraiser. During a party, Elle tells the popular OMG girls (Olivia, Mia, and Gwyneth) that Noah will be part of the booth, despite Noah having already refused her request.

The Kissing Booth opens to a roaring crowd. Everything goes well until Lee serves as the Flynn family kisser instead of Noah, disappointing the girls. Rachel steps up to kiss Lee. Lee and Rachel leave the booth in Elle's hands as they enjoy the fair. Annoyed that Elle lied about Noah's participation, the OMG Girls set up Elle to kiss an undesirable student. At the last second, the student waves Noah ahead. Noah kisses the blindfolded Elle, and when she lifts her blindfold and sees Noah in front of her, they kiss again in front of the whole school.

Cleaning up the booth, Elle is upset to see Noah flirting with another girl. Noah offers her a ride on his motorcycle, but the rain forces them to take shelter in a park gazebo. Elle kisses Noah and tells him she cannot be just another sexual conquest. Hurt, Noah reveals he has feelings for her.

Near the end of a raucous beach party, Warren tries to convince Elle to go to a hot tub, much to Elle's objections. Noah comes to Elle's defense. Warren taunts Noah for his protectiveness, and Noah body slams Warren while Elle runs away from the situation. Noah catches up to her and gives her a ride home. Along the way, he apologizes for his feelings for her as they detour to the Hollywood Sign where they get intimate for the first time. They establish rules for their relationship, most notably that Lee never finds out.

Elle overhears Noah's mother saying he had been accepted to an Ivy League school. Noah swears Elle to secrecy that he has been accepted to Harvard University.

While fixing Noah's motorcycle, Elle falls and cuts her face. Lee walks in while Noah is taking care of her wound. Lee accuses Noah of hurting Elle. Lee asks Elle if they are dating, and Elle swears nothing is going on. As Noah and Elle share a kiss after agreeing to tell Lee the truth, he walks in on them. Lee is furious that Elle has broken their friendship rules. Lee runs to his car and tells Elle that their friendship is the one thing his brother never had and that now he has nothing. Lee peels off in his car. Elle lashes out at Noah, blaming him for exposing their relationship. Noah rides off on his motorcycle.

Noah is MIA at school for the next couple of weeks, risking not graduating, and Lee completely ignores Elle. She all of a sudden remembers Rule #7: "No matter how mad you are at your best friend, you have to forgive them if they give you ice cream." She offers him a chocolate ice cream cone, but he throws it in the garbage can. While sitting at the arcade, Elle sees Lee enter the arcade, and he invites Elle to dance with him. Lee forgives Elle, and they reconcile.

Elle goes to prom with Lee and his girlfriend Rachel. Huge black and white photographs adorn the walls of Memory Lane, a special prom exhibit. Deeper into Memory Lane lies the Kissing Booth. Noah emerges from the back of the Kissing Booth, inviting Elle up to the stage. Noah confesses his love for her publicly. Elle runs away. Noah apologizes to Lee for everything at home and tells Lee that he is serious about Elle and will be leaving for Boston the next day to get settled in for college.

At Elle and Lee's birthday costume party the next day, Elle confesses her love for Noah to Lee. Lee relents and wants Elle to be happy and agrees to help her find Noah, who is likely en route to the airport. Driving Lee's car, Elle shares her true feelings for Noah with Lee, dressed in his Batman costume, only to find out that Noah is underneath the Batman costume. Elle is ecstatic to find out that Lee has invoked Rule #18: "Always be happy for your bestie's successes."

Elle and Noah spend the following weeks together before he leaves for college. Watching him go, she is unsure if the relationship will last, but she knows a part of her heart will always belong to him and rides his motorcycle into the sunset.


  • Joey King as Rochelle "Elle" Evans, lifelong best friend of Lee and girlfriend of Noah.
  • Joel Courtney as Lee Flynn, best friend of Elle, Noah's younger brother and Rachel's boyfriend.
  • Jacob Elordi as Noah Flynn, Lee's older brother and love interest and eventual boyfriend of Elle.
  • Meganne Young as Rachel, Lee's girlfriend.
  • Stephen Jennings as Mike Evans, Elle's father.
  • Chloe Williams as Joni Evans, Elle's mother.
  • Carson White as Brad Evans, Elle's younger brother.
  • Molly Ringwald as Sara Flynn, Noah and Lee's mother, and mother figure to Elle.
  • Morné Visser as Mr. Flynn, Noah and Lee's father.
  • Jessica Sutton as Mia, a popular, mean girl at school who has a crush on Noah. She is the leader of the OMG (Olivia, Mia, Gwyneth) girls.
  • Zandile Madliwa as Gwyneth, Mia's friend and one of the OMG girls.
  • Bianca Bosch as Olivia, Mia's friend and one of the OMG girls.
  • Michelle Allen as Heather, fellow student and Goth girl.
  • Joshua Eady as Tuppen, a football player who sexually assaults Elle before asking her out and then standing her up after being threatened with physical harm by Noah.
  • Byron Langley as Warren
  • Judd Akron as Ollie
  • Sanda Shandu as Randy
  • Hilton Pelser as Barry


In June 2014, Vince Marcello was hired to write the film adaptation of teenage author Beth Reekles' young adult novel The Kissing Booth, which was originally published on Wattpad.[2] In November 2016, it was announced that Netflix had purchased rights to the film, and Marcello was set to direct as well.[3] In January 2017, Joey King and Molly Ringwald signed on to star.[4]

Filming took place in Los Angeles, California, and in Cape Town, South Africa, with scenes shot at the University of Cape Town (UCT) between January and April 2017.[4]


The film was released on May 11, 2018 on Netflix.[5] According to Netflix, one in three viewers of the film have re-watched it, "which is 30 percent higher than the average movie re-watch rate on the [streaming service]."[6] Deeming the film a substantial success for the service, CCO Ted Sarandos called it "one of the most-watched movies in the country, and maybe in the world."[7] Upon the sequel's release in July 2020, the first film was the third-most viewed on Netflix that weekend.[8]


Critical response[edit]

The Kissing Booth was panned by critics.[9] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 15% based on 13 reviews, with an average rating of 4.1/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "The Kissing Booth deploys every rom-com cliché in the book with little care given to achieving any real sentiment."[10]

IndieWire's Kate Erbland gave the film a "D" grade, saying that "Unfortunately, the high school-set rom-com is a sexist and regressive look at relationships that highlights the worst impulses of the genre."[11] Ani Bundel of NBC News criticized the film's "problematic stereotyping of masculinity and relationships" and lack of original ideas, writing: "It feels like it was written by someone who simply digested everything she was told 'romance' was supposed to be by the patriarchy, and vomited back at us. Nearly every cliché in the film feels cribbed from another movie, like a song made completely of samples from better-known hits."[9][12]

Despite being deemed "sexist"[11][13] and "objectively bad"[14][15] by several critics, The Kissing Booth was widely consumed among audiences. Netflix's CCO Ted Sarandos affirmed the film's success as a "hugely popular original movie" for the streaming service.[14] Factors that have been cited as reasons for The Kissing Booth's success among audiences include the original novel's popularity on Wattpad, the relative lack of original romantic comedies on the platform, and the publicization of actors King and Elordi's off-screen relationship during the film's production.[14]


At the 2019 Kids' Choice Awards, The Kissing Booth was nominated for Favorite Movie and Joey King won Favorite Actress for her role.[16]


On February 14, 2019, a sequel, titled The Kissing Booth 2, was announced.[17] It was released on July 24, 2020 on Netflix.

A third film, The Kissing Booth 3, was announced on July 26, 2020 via livestream. It was filmed directly after the second film, with most of the cast and the crew returning, and released August 11, 2021.[18]


  1. ^ Kaufman, Amy (June 28, 2018). "Must Reads: How 'The Kissing Booth' became a pop culture sensation (even if critics hated it)". The Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ Kemp, Stuart (June 10, 2014). "'Zombie Prom' Scribe Hired To Pen Teenage Publishing Sensation Beth Reekles' 'The Kissing Booth'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  3. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (November 30, 2016). "Netflix Orders 'The Kissing Booth'; YA Adaptation To Be Produced By Komixx". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  4. ^ a b N'Duka, Amanda (January 30, 2017). "Joey King & Molly Ringwald To Pucker Up In 'The Kissing Booth'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  5. ^ Hemmert, Kylie (May 1, 2018). "The Kissing Booth Official Trailer Released". Retrieved May 19, 2018.
  6. ^ Galuppo, Mia (June 20, 2018). "'Set It Up' and the Rise of the Non-Studio Rom-Com". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  7. ^ Adalian, Josef (June 10, 2018). "Netflix Binge Factory". Vulture. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  8. ^ Brueggemann, Tom (July 27, 2020). "'The Rental' Is Second Film Ever to Be #1 on Both Theatrical and VOD Charts at Same Time". IndieWire. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Bundel, Ani (July 3, 2018). "Netflix's 'The Kissing Booth' is a runaway teen phenomenon that critics hate and adults have never heard of". NBCNews. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  10. ^ "The Kissing Booth (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 27, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Erbland, Kate (May 31, 2018). "'The Kissing Booth': Netflix's Teen Comedy Sensation Is Sexist and Outdated — Review". IndieWire. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  12. ^ "From 'After' to 'The Kissing Booth' – the problem with toxic teen romances". The Independent. July 19, 2019.
  13. ^ Cagle, Tess (May 14, 2018). "Netflix celebrates the male gaze with puzzlingly sexist teen flick, 'The Kissing Booth'". The Daily Dot. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  14. ^ a b c Rowles, Dustin (June 21, 2018). "Why Is The Objectively Bad Netflix Movie 'The Kissing Booth' So Insanely Popular?". Uproxx. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  15. ^ Foreman, Alison (June 15, 2018). "'The Kissing Booth' is the problematic, lazy dumpster fire dominating Netflix". Mashable. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  16. ^ "Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2019 Nominees: The Complete List". Billboard. February 26, 2019. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  17. ^ Hipes, Patrick (February 14, 2019). "'The Kissing Booth' Getting Netflix Sequel". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  18. ^ "'Kissing Booth 3' Shot in Secret, Already in Post-Production and Coming from Netflix in 2021". Indie Wire. July 26, 2020. Retrieved July 26, 2020.

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