British blogger and comedian Ryan Maxwell explained on TikTok the damaging effects of a scene in which the two main characters — Elle Evans and Noah Flynn, portrayed respectively by actors Joey King and Jacob Elordi — fight during a beach bonfire.
Elordi’s character, a “reformed” bad-boy who has well-documented anger issues, loses his temper and hits another one of the film’s male characters, which causes an upset Elle to leave. Noah chases his girlfriend to the parking lot while shouting, “just get in the car, Elle!” She ignores him and keeps walking, to which the character slams his fist on his car and repeats his demand louder.
King’s character freezes in her steps as her face turns white, and then … she complies without further dispute. The next scene shows the two driving away together.
Of course, nothing negative befalls Elle Evans after that moment — this is a Netflix movie, after all.
But in real life, a protagonist such as herself might not prove so lucky when dealing with a man as possessive and toxic as Noah Flynn, who gets into multiple fistfights with other male characters throughout the film.
Maxwell believes the movie’s romanticization of such controlling, violent behavior sets “an awful example for young girls.”
“Just some advice,” he said in his video. “If a guy with that level of aggression tells you to get in his car and slams the car [hood], and then you get into it because he says the word ‘please,’ you are putting yourself at massive risk.”
“I don’t want to be a Karen about it, but what an awful example to young girls,” he added.
Maxwell’s video has since been viewed more than 6.2M times and has racked up over 22K comments, with many users agreeing that such violent behavior from a significant other is a red flag that should not be ignored, even in a movie.
“Facts,” one user said. “Emotional abuse and anger are romanticized so much in media and film today. It’s masked as ‘passion.'”
“Most teen romance movies and rom-coms teach girls to go for verbally abusive and aggressive boys/men,” noted another. “It isn’t okay.”
“I think it speaks volumes that the actor who played Noah has come out to say that he isn’t anything like his character and that he wouldn’t want to be,” wrote a third.
Despite the wild popularity of the 2018 film, the sequel to which came out in July 2020, 23-year-old Elordi has given multiple interviews in which he’s distanced himself from the character that put him on the map.
“[My] character in ‘The Kissing Booth’ is awful and it’s never really explained,” the Australian actor told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019 while discussing his new role in “Euphoria.” “He’s kind of idolized and made into a hero, so I suppose this show is showing why.”
During a 2020 segment with GQ, Elordi went undercover to answer questions from fans across the internet, including one guy who said his girlfriend told him Noah Flynn was her dream guy and asked for “direct things I can do to be like that.”
“That’s awful, I’m so sorry,” Elordi said. “Your girlfriend should never say that. You are her dream guy, don’t listen to that.”
“First of all, don’t be like Noah Flynn, I wouldn’t want to be like that in real life,” he added. “Be like Jacob Elordi? Don’t do that either. Be yourself, man.”
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