The Kissing Booth

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

The Kissing Booth is a 2018 American teen romantic comedy film written and directed by Vince Marcello, based on the novel of the same name by Beth Reekles. It stars Joey King, Jacob Elordi, Joel Courtney and Molly Ringwald. 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. The film received largely negative reviews from critics, who deemed its storyline and themes to be clichéd and misogynistic. A sequel, The Kissing Booth 2, was released on July 24, 2020, and a third film, The Kissing Booth 3, is in post-production and is scheduled for a 2021 release.


Rochelle "Elle" Evans and Lee Flynn, born at the same time in the same hospital in Los Angeles, have been best friends all their lives due to their mothers, Joni Evans and Sara Flynn, growing up together and having a deep bond. They create rules to maintain their friendship; chiefly, they are forbidden from dating each other's relatives, specifically Lee's handsome older brother Noah, who Elle has had a crush on for years.

As the two grow up, they develop a love for dancing, specifically on an arcade dance machine on the pier. When Elle is 11, she discovers her mother is terminally ill and, three years later, she eventually passes away. As she grows up, Elle's crush on Noah deepens but she tries her hardest to forget it.

Two years later, students are returning to school after summer break. Elle's pants rip and her backups are at the dry cleaners, so, unwillingly, she has to wear a tiny school skirt of short size from her younger age and because of which she becomes the centre of attention after reaching school, when an older student, Tuppen, inappropriately slaps Elle's buttocks. Lee, in order to teach Tuppen a lesson, gets up in a position to get hit by him but Noah defends his brother and Elle and end up fighting with Tuppen. Tuppen, Noah, and Elle are served with detention, where Tuppen apologizes by performing a dance wearing a skirt in front of the students, for which Elle accepts his request for a date. Tuppen does not show up though, later telling Elle that Noah threatened everyone to not pursue Elle romantically.

Elle and Lee come up with the event of kissing booth for a school fundraiser. During a party, Elle tells the girls that Noah will be part of the booth, despite Noah having already refused her request. At the kissing booth, everything goes well until Lee serves as the kisser instead of Noah. Angry that Elle lied about Noah's participation, the popular girls (known as the OMG Girls) set up Elle to kiss an undesirable student. At the last second, the student waves Noah ahead. Noah kisses unknown Elle, but when she realises the boy is Noah, they kiss each other in front of the entire school.

Cleaning up the booth, Elle is upset to see Noah flirting with another girl, and runs outside where it starts to rain. Noah offers her a ride on his motorcycle, but the rain forces them to take shelter in a park. Elle kisses Noah, but then tells him she cannot be just another sexual conquest. Hurt, Noah reveals he has feelings for her. They kiss again but are interrupted by a security guard who recognizes Noah, telling him to stop bringing girls there, angering Elle.

At a beach party, Elle is forced by another student, Warren, to do one activity. Noah objects to such behaviour when Warren makes fun of his protectiveness for Elle which angers Noah and he body slams Warren. Elle runs away from the situation but is stopped upon Noah's request and they drive to the Hollywood sign, committing to each other and establishing rules for their relationship, most importantly that Lee never finds out.

Elle and Noah keep seeing each other secretly. Noah's mother almost catches them in his room. Hiding under his bed, Elle overhears Noah's mother say he has been accepted to Harvard University. Elle is upset to know this.

Elle falls and wounds her face with a cut while they are fixing Noah's bike. Noah is taking care of her wound in his room when Lee walks in and accuses Noah of hurting Elle. Surprised when Elle calms Noah's anger, Lee asks Elle about her and Noah's relationship, which she denies but feels guilty. As Noah and Elle share a kiss after agreeing to tell Lee the truth, he walks in on them. Lee was furious that Elle has broken their friendship rules. Lee was lashing out on Elle when the two brothers fight, and Lee leaves. Elle yells at Noah for his behaviour with lee and tells him to leave her alone. Angered by this, Noah agrees and drives off.

Weeks pass that the three hadn't talked to each other until one day, Mrs Flynn visits Elle and explains that even she and Elle's mother had fights sometimes but they always made up because that's what best friends do. She urges Elle to fix things with Lee. Eventually, Lee and Elle reconcile and Elle goes to prom with Lee and his girlfriend, Rachel. There, a replica of the kissing booth is brought out with Noah, who tells Elle he loves her. She tells that she cannot be with him by hurting those whom she loves and runs away.

At Elle and Lee's birthday costume party the next day, devastated Elle tells Lee that if he cannot accept her and Noah's relationship, he should not be a part of her life. Lee relents but agrees and also help Elle find Noah, who left for the airport to leave for college. Driving Lee's car, Elle shares her true feelings for Noah with Lee, who reveals himself to be Noah in Lee's costume. Elle admits to Noah that she loves him.

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 knows a part of her heart will always belong to him, and rides his motorcycle into the sunset.


  • Joey King as Shelly "Elle" Evans, lifelong best friend of Lee and love interest and eventual 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 of Elle and eventual boyfriend of Elle.
  • Meganne Young as Rachel, Lee's girlfriend
  • Stephen Jennings as Mike Evans, Elle's father
  • Carson White as Brad Evans, Elle's younger brother
  • Molly Ringwald as Sara Flynn, Noah and Lee's mother
  • 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 a third of the OMG girls.
  • Bianca Bosch as Olivia, Mia's friend and a third of the OMG girls.
  • Michelle Allen as Heather.
  • Joshua Eady as Tuppen, who harasses Elle before asking her out and then ditching her at the request of Noah


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.[1] In November 2016, it was announced that Netflix had purchased rights to the film, and Marcello was set to direct as well.[2] In January 2017, Joey King and Molly Ringwald signed on to star.[3]

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.[3]


The film was released on May 11, 2018 on Netflix.[4] 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]."[5] 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."[6] Upon the sequel's release in July 2020, the first film was the third-most viewed on Netflix that weekend.[7]


Critical response[edit]

The Kissing Booth was panned by critics.[8] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 17% based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 3.59/10. 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."[9]

IndieWire's Kate Erbland gave the film a "D" grade, adding that "Unfortunately, the high school-set rom-com is a sexist and regressive look at relationships that highlights the worst impulses of the genre."[10] Ani Bundel of NBCNews criticized the film's "problematic stereotyping of masculinity and relationships" and lack of original ideas. "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."[8][11]

Despite being deemed "sexist"[10][12] and "objectively bad"[13][14] 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.[13] 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.[13]


At the 2019 Kids' Choice Awards, The Kissing Booth was nominated for Favorite Movie and Joey King won Favorite Actress for her role.[15]


On February 14, 2019, a sequel, titled The Kissing Booth 2, was announced.[16] 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 movie, with most of the cast and the crew returning, and is scheduled for a 2021 release.[17]


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

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