The Kissing Booth 3 (2021) Review

A bittersweet, heartfelt end to the Elle-Lee-Noah saga

Rony Patra -

The Kissing Booth 3 (2021) Review
Platform
Netflix
Platform Icons Click To Stream
Format
Original Movie Review
Movie Rated
13+
Genre
ROMANCE,YOUTH
Language
English

What is the story about?

With acceptance letters from both Harvard and Berkeley, and a choice between settling in Boston with Noah or attending college with her best friend Lee, what does Elle really want?

Analysis

One of my biggest complaints with the first two Kissing Booth films was the fact that very little agency was given to Elle as a person. Sure, she's the main character at the centre of this trilogy, and it is her friendship with Lee and romance with Noah that sets the tone for this trilogy. But who is Elle as a person?
 
Thankfully, Netflix and director Vince Marcello close out the trilogy with a final entry that feels unwirldy and overstuffed at times. Seriously, the first half feels like the director namchecking various notable episodes and references from the first two films. If you've seen the American Pie films, The Kissing Booth 3 could very well be considered a PG-13 version of American Reunion in that sense. The answer to the Berkeley-Harvard dilemma comes in the first half, and you wonder what else can hold your attention. But the second half feels like a whole different film, with Marcello not only giving space to Elle's growing-up pangs and introspection about her life and dreams, but also laying bare the lives of the adults, with them gearing up for the next chapter of their lives after their children have gone off to college. There are surprisingly heartfelt scenes here, and these are what elevate The Kissing Booth 3 as a strong finish to this teen trilogy. The final sequence may remind Harry Potter fans of the last scene of the last book, and there's even a sequence that serves as a nice hat-tip to the Palat sequence from DDLJ. All in all, this is a overstuffed crow-pleaser with surprising emotional depth.

Performances

Joey King, Joel Courtney, Jacob Elordi and Meganne Young are dependable as Elle, Lee, Noah and Rachel. Taylor Zakhar Perez is wasted as Marco, while Maisie Richardson-Sellers hardly gets much scope as Chloe. However, Molly Ringwald's Mrs. Flynn and Stephen Jennings' Mr. Evans are surprisingly good here.

Music & Other Departments

The music and cinematography are decent. However, the VFX looks tacky at times.

Highlights

Two sequences stand out.
  • When Mr. Evans confronts Elle at the beach about his need to move on with another woman.
  • When Mrs. Flynn has a heartfelt conversation with Elle about what she wants in life.

Drawbacks

The subplots featuring Marco and Chloe feel unnecessary.

Did I enjoy it?

The second half is thoroughly enjoyable.

Do I recommend it?

Yes, if you're a fan of the adventures of Elle, Lee and Noah.


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