Confirmed: Netflix's The Kissing Booth Is Not at All Appropriate For Kids

When I signed into my Netflix account and caught the first few moments of The Kissing Booth splash across my screen, I thought the Netflix original movie seemed like a great option for older kids on a rainy day. It had all the makings of a quirky romantic comedy — and seemed like a pretty tame option at first. But, boy, was I wrong.

From a parent's point of view, the trailer is the epitome of misleading: it seems like a relatively innocent love story that mimics the classic storyline of an older, handsome jock falling for the younger nerd. That's true from a larger perspective, but when it comes to The Kissing Booth, the devil is in the details.

The story follows Shelly "Elle" Evans, who's played by Joey King (you may recognize her from Ramona and Beezus) and Lee Flynn (Joel Courtney), who have been besties since birth. Everything seems to be running smoothly until the characters' hormones start to kick in, and Elle catches the eye of Lee's handsome older brother, Noah (Jacob Elordi).

Throw in a school fundraiser that requires a kissing booth and a little bit of sneaking around on Noah and Elle's part and you have a recipe for disaster as far as high school relationships are concerned. And while The Kissing Booth may make for a hilarious date night, we'd recommend that parents keep their kids away from this flick even though it's technically rated TV-14.

Here are the most concerning aspects that make this one a pass for parents. And on the off-chance that you cave and let your kids watch it because all their friends have seen it, make sure you discuss sexual assault and underage drinking with them beforehand.


1. The movie is all about hooking up and having sex.

While the title might seem like this movie centers on an innocent peck here or there, that's certainly not the case once the film starts rolling. Elle reveals pretty early on that she is hell-bent on having her first kiss sooner rather than later, and as you can imagine, a kissing booth seems like a pretty good place to have that happen.

The sexual references only get more intense as the movie goes on. After Noah and Elle go on a few dates, viewers see Elle buying a box of condoms. (Why is that specifically her job again?) Flash forward a few scenes, and Lee catches them smooching one afternoon only to be told that, yes, Lee and Noah have indeed had sex — though it's not shown on camera.

2. There's no shortage of curse words.

A few minutes in, we hear a few midgrade insults to the tune of "asshat" and "jackass," but as soon as Lee gets wind that Elle and his older brother are getting it on, sh*t hits the fan in the curse word department — there's one use of "f*ck" as well. He calls Elle a slut to her face and goes full-on nasty at a point, so parents, take heed.


3. It doesn't paint high school relationships in a realistic — or healthy — light whatsoever.

Where to even begin with this topic. After Elle wears a short skirt to school because her pants ripped, a giant meathead football player named Tuppen (Joshua Daniel Eady) slaps her on the butt, and a fight breaks out.

And while showing sexual assault going unpunished is bad enough, Elle agrees to go a date with him later that day after he passes her a note in class that literally reads: "I'm sorry" written in black marker. She dubbed it "a really good apology" and met him out later that night only to be stood up in the end — talk about foolishness!

Without giving too much away, before going steady with Elle, Noah is a total playboy, so prepare for some super cringeworthy moments with the other chicks he ended up blowing off.


4. Elle gets too drunk at a party, and there are literally no consequences.

The Kissing Booth didn't shy away from underage drinking when it came time to showing your run-of-the-mill high school party. Scantily clad girls were doing "shooters," and obviously Elle didn't hesitate before knocking a few back herself. Unfortunately, she quickly reaches three sheets to the wind-level intoxicated and ends up stripping down to her underwear in front of the entire party.

Although there's no nudity involved, getting drunk to the point that you're taking off your clothes isn't a good look for anybody. Plus, any stranger with a smartphone could've easily snapped a photo or two of Elle — and that kind of behavior can haunt kids for the rest of their lives.

5. The female characters' self-worth solely rides on whether or not boys like them — and that's extremely problematic.

Although teenage girls can be a little boy-crazy in real life, this movie paints them in a pretty god-awful light. Not only is Elle completely hung up on every single word Noah says to her, but the rest of the female characters are just as bad. Take the group of popular girls Elle dubs "The OMGs." All they talk about is how to get boys' attention the entire movie. Early on, a girl named Gwyneth declares that she wants to have two babies with Noah, so yes, it's all downhill from there.


6. Elle goes right behind her best friend's back to date his brother, and no, that's not an acceptable thing to do.

While we totally get the allure of sneaking around for a make-out session or two when you're young, betraying your best friend is never a good idea. There were plenty of opportunities for Elle — or Noah, for that matter — to tell Lee what was actually going on before things took a turn for the worse. Frankly, kids should learn to be upfront and honest about their actions, rather than resorting to lying about them over and over again.

7. Viewers learn you don't always get forgiven right away, and that's OK.

Eventually, Elle and Noah own up to their sneaky behavior and seem genuinely sorry for what they did. The biggest takeaway older kids can get from the situation is that sometimes, people won't forgive you right away. Understandably, it takes Lee more than 24 hours to get over the fact that his best friend was sleeping with her brother. He ignores her calls for a few days and even rejects her first shot at an in-person apology, so hats off to him for standing his ground. This is at least one lesson teens could glean from the otherwise troubling film.

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The Kissing Booth | Official Trailer | Netflix