The Kissing Booth

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Kissing Booth Movie Poster Image
Quirky romcom has strong language, teen drinking, sex.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 104 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 53 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 69 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

You won't really be happy if it means someone has to sacrifice their happiness for you. You can't give up your own happiness to make someone else happy. Things change, and that can be sad and scary, but it also means that the future holds endless possibilities. Iffy message about getting into lots of fights because it's just how you're wired. Teen drinking and sexual activity are presented as normal. Brief conversation about whether wearing revealing clothing is "asking for it." High-school stereotyping played for comedy. The central romance is based on Noah changing his violent, controlling behavior, which he agrees to. Idealizes very wealthy, mostly white kids from Los Angeles.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Elle has a variety of interests that go against gender norms, like being good at video games and playing soccer. She tries to keep everyone happy, including herself, stands up for herself too. In real life Noah's behavior should set off alarms; he's violent, jealous, controlling. He ultimately shows that he's serious and sincere when it comes to Elle. Lee is a loyal and supportive best friend who learns that he's also trying to control Elle in a different way and is able to overcome it.

Violence

Some fights with punching, pushing, body slamming; a few slightly bloody injuries shown, like cut lips and bruises. A boy slaps a girl's behind. Some bullying, like giving wedgies. Flashbacks show Elle's mother sick in the hospital, and eventually Elle at her mother's grave.

Sex

Lots of kissing, brief making out, implied teen sex. Teens start to take off clothes, kiss while wearing only underwear. A short skirt shows a girl's underwear, part of her buttocks. Dancing and suggestive movements in underwear. Mention that a girl accidentally "touched it" while wrestling with a boy. Elle buys condoms. A boy has Vaseline and a magazine under his bed. Some brief same-sex flirting and dancing. Menstruation mentioned.

Language

"F--k," "s--t," "d--k," "ass," "douche," "boobs," "hell," "damn," "bitch," "slut," "ho," "Jesus" as an exclamation, and "grinding coochies."

Consumerism

Vaseline, Barbie Dance Party.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink to excess at parties; multiple shots, keg stands, and a relay race that includes chugging beer. Elle drinks to excess at a party, dances on a table while taking off her dress, and suggests going skinny-dipping, with brief hangover symptoms shown the morning after. Outtakes during the end credits show Elle near a toilet with simulated vomit in it and passed out on the bathroom floor.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Kissing Booth is a teen romcom adapted from a popular ebook of the same name written by a 15-year-old. It definitely delivers on the title's promise: There's lots of kissing, some brief making out, undressing, and implied sex. Main character Elle (Joey King) also appears in bra and underwear several times. It offers a good chance to talk to teens about Noah's bad-boy appeal and how violent, controlling behavior is a serious red flag in real life, as well as the wisdom of basing a relationship on a promise that someone will change. Fighting and bullying violence includes punches, body slams, wedgies, and a few bloody injuries. Strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," and "d--k." Teens drink to excess at parties, indulging in multiple shots, keg stands, and a relay race that includes chugging beer. Expect plenty of high school stereotypes and an idealized, wealthy, mostly white, LA lifestyle.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byHelen M. May 16, 2018

Soapy teen flick has mature moments

Right off the bat, parents should know that this teen rom-com is considerably mild by today's standards; As a result, the main issues parents may have are... Continue reading
Parent of a 11 and 14 year old Written byKeri M. May 24, 2018

So disappointed

My oldest daughter was so excited to see this movie because her friend at school had already seen it 3 times. Since it was rated PG - 14 I didn't expect... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bykjones114 May 20, 2018

great movie, but some touchy topics!

This movie is amazing! It's one of my new favorites! However, there are a few topics that some parents might not want their kids watching. The characters d... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bymabluvs2sing June 6, 2018

If you want your kid to be a feminist, don’t show them this movie.

I am a sixteen year old girl, and I absolutely despised this movie. This is hands down the worst film I have ever seen. I actually made an account on this site... Continue reading

What's the story?

Best friends Elle (Joey King) and Lee (Joel Courtney) decide to put up THE KISSING BOOTH at their school's fundraising carnival their junior year. Lately Elle's been more and more attracted to Lee's bad-boy older brother, Noah (Jacob Elordi), who's strictly off limits thanks to Elle and Lee's friendship rules. When Elle takes a turn in the kissing booth, her first customer is none other than Noah, and the two quickly realize that they're falling for each other. How long can they keep their romance a secret?

Is it any good?

An appealing cast, idyllic setting, and of course, forbidden romance, provide lots of teen appeal in this quirky romantic comedy. The Kissing Booth keeps the tone light thanks to Elle's engaging narration, which also provides a few laughs along the way. There are some problems with pace, like taking way too long to get to the main conflict, some gaps in the story, and a pretty predictable resolution. But teen romance fans who can handle the edgy content and who can see past the stereotypes will enjoy watching events unfold to the refreshingly not-melodramatic but satisfying end.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the romantic lead in The Kissing Booth is a "bad boy." Why is that appealing? What other movie bad boys have you seen, and which is your favorite? Why?

  • Do you believe that Noah will stop being violent and controlling? Why or why not? Have you ever tried to change for someone, or has someone tried to change for you? What happened?

  • Did you read the book this movie is based on? If so, do you like the book or the movie better? If not, would you like to now?

  • What did you think of the teen drinking? Was it realistic? Were there any consequences?

Movie details

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