For Millennials. By Millennials.
Hey listen, The Kissing Booth may be the typical teen romcoms we’ve all seen on Netflix. But, there’s something about the story and how the actors give it life that really reels you in. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect movie. It has some things that just don’t quite make sense to me. The main one I noticed was the toxic friendship of Elle Evans (Joey King) and Lee Flynn (Joel Courtney). And here is why.
Lee isn’t a supportive friend of Elle
The major plot point of The Kissing Booth is the fact that Elle Evans has to hide her relationship with the guy she loves. The guy she loves happens to be Lee’s brother Noah Flynn (Jacob Elrodi). Apparently, the only reason Elle and Noah can’t be together is because of the old best friend list they had. Plus, the fact that Lee doesn’t like sharing Elle with his older brother that he kind of has unresolved issues with.
In one of the climactic scenes in The Kissing Booth, Lee and Noah end up fighting over the fact that Noah can’t be with Elle. The reasoning behind that for Lee is:
“You know, my whole life Noah has gotten everything that he has ever wanted. The only thing that I had that he didn’t was you. And now he has that too.”
Okay, that is understandable. But you can’t control what your brother and best friend do just because you have your own insecurities. When Elle finally falls in love with a guy for the first time, Lee should have tried to be supportive or be understanding at least. But he flat out rejects the idea and throws a hissy fit at the mere idea of his older brother taking away the attention of his only friend in the world.
It would maybe make some sense if Lee had some feelings for Elle himself, but he doesn’t. They clearly have a brother-sister twin relationship going on. He’s got his own relationship to focus on with Rachel (Meganne Young). At the end of The Kissing Booth 1, Lee very reluctantly and very painfully understands the need for Elle to go to her love. It takes him a long while to be supportive. And we never see them being comfortable enough to actually talk about these things (which even normal friends who were destined to be best friends do).
Lee is also very controlling
Then in The Kissing Booth 2, he is so hell-bent on the idea of Elle and him going to the same school that he is extremely angry Elle would even consider thinking about going to Harvard to be with her boyfriend. Perhaps Lee was just angry Elle didn’t tell him right away but he doesn’t urge her to pursue her dreams. Or even see it from her perspective.
Lee and Elle don’t know how to be honest with each other
I may now know much about friendship but in order for it to be true, it has to be one where you can be honest with each other. And throughout the whole Kissing Booth series, Lee and Elle are hardly ever telling each other the truth. Both are non-confrontational so they hide major secrets. In the first movie, Elle hid her whole relationship with Noah (something that you don’t really hide with your best friend). Then in The Kissing Booth 2, Elle lies again about applying to Harvard and schools in Boston. It’s not like Lee is perfect either. He is also lying to Elle about the fact that his girlfriend Rachel isn’t okay with Elle always being around them. So, if they’re both always lying to each other, do they ever care about each other?
I mean, Lee faked an injury to just get out of the drama. He also lied to Elle about Marco (Taylor Zakhar-Perez) being really interested in the drama competition. In such a friendship, it’s not surprising to note that both of them don’t discuss issues and problems that are weighing on their mind. If they’re not even comfortable sharing that, then what’s the point of them being so devoted to their bond?
Their Best Friend Rule List Is So Problematic!
Don’t get me wrong, the best friend rule list Elle and Lee have since they were young kids is adorable. It was wholesome and cute. But the thing is, they made it when they were literal kids with no concrete understanding of the world. They didn’t know right from wrong. Their world was black and white to them. They were not mature enough to understand that there is such a concept called grey area. They jotted down some rules that made sense like always be there for your friend which was an actually good one but they also note down rules such as not dating each other’s relative (something that only Elle had to suffer through). And the fact they have to go to the same school. I get the emotional reason behind that, both of their moms went there and Elle’s mom passed away. She needs a connection to her mother, that’s wholesome. But she isn’t entirely doing it for her mom. Elle Evans is just binding herself to a life that she and Lee decided when they were kids! How does any of that make any sense? Plus, after they broke one of the rules already in The Kissing Booth 1, why are they still sticking by it?
Why not, I don’t know, UPDATE IT? I get the target demographic isn’t overthinking adults like myself. But even a teenager would find this a weird plot point.
Why don’t Elle and Lee have other friends?!
That’s just a personal opinion but for the life of me, I don’t understand why you’re bound to only one best friend in your life forever. Don’t people change? And shouldn’t Elle get like proper girls in her social circle? The OMG girls (Olivia, Mia, Gloria) don’t count. For one, they are shallow caricatures of the mean girl trope we’ve all seen. They’re not portrayed as girls, but just a plot point to get the story moving forward or to provide some comedic relief. Honestly, if they just added some nuance to their characters, they could provide some great friendship to Elle Evans. She doesn’t have that many female influences in her life. Especially those of her age. There is Rachel, Lee’s girlfriend. But they don’t even get to have a proper relationship in the first movie because Rachel is busy with Lee. And Elle is busy with Noah. In the second movie, Rachel has a problem with Elle always being around and not giving her time alone with her boyfriend. I get that but Rachel could have tried to form her own bond with Elle and talked things out with her instead of forcing Lee in a difficult position. Plus, Lee doesn’t have that many guy friends of his own either. I feel like when they just confined themselves to each other in this sacred bond of friendship, they are missing out on a lot of different perspectives on life. Maybe if they got some other friends, they might learn that you should not lie to your friend if you actually care about them, you know?
That’s what I think anyway. What is your opinion on their friendship? And dare I ask, Team Marco or Team Noah?
I agree. The movie was cute enough, but I had a serious problem with their definition of best friends. The way Lee acts doesn’t seem like a good friend to me. I did t like how Molly Ringwald’s character made it seem like Elle did something g wrong and had to fix it. She should have told her that any friend that makes her choose is no friend at all. I’m watching the 2nd movie now but judging by the trailer, Lee hasn’t changed much. Hopefully by the 3rd movie she learns to stick up for herself. I