20 Years Later, Never Been Kissed Still Speaks to the Inner Nerd in Me

Totally rufus.

It might sound hard to believe, but high school, or the Singapore version of it, wasn’t a fun time for me. I always had my nose in a book, my studies taking priority over everything else. Yet, at the same time, there was this longing for romance, or the possibility of it. My friends and I would trade romance novels, to giggle and to wish, with books by our dear Mr Nicholas Sparks being especially popular when I was in school. I was very much like Drew Barrymore’s character Josie, though she is of course a hyperbolised portrayal. Both of us awkward girls who loved books more than anything; we were also not good looking enough to draw any interest.

The scene where Josie gets eggs thrown at her by a guy she had a crush on is a devastating watch. We all know what’s it like to crush on the popular guy in school, and for her to experience rejection in such a manner is just so cruel. In a strange coincidence, I had a similar experience, though not as soul wrenching as Josie’s. A popular guy in my class came up to me one day and told me I looked pretty. As I stared at him in confusion, he ran back to his group of friends and they started laughing. It was pretty easy to put two and two together.

While the bulk of the movie is about self-identify and belonging, there is still some romance. The movie has one of the more enduring romantic moments in a rom-com, courtesy of the ferris wheel ride. The framing of the scene allows for intimate conversation, yet maintains the dynamism because of the movement of the car. Love, Simon employed a similar method as well, even The Notebook had a scene featuring a ferris wheel, so clearly this is a ride of romantic dreams.

As I teared a little at certain moments in the movie, it occurred to me that this movie speaks to me because of who I was in high school. It speaks to me the same way Sixteen Candles does, or Dumplin’, or Eight Grade. Hell, I even related to the movie Sierra Burgess is a Loser, despite the film not being very good and the protagonist sorely lacking a proper moral sense. I return to Never Been Kissed not because it is a great movie (it is merely mediocre), I watch it to lament at the tragedy that was my earlier years. I can’t let go of that awkward, nerdy self. I see glimpses of her when I look in a mirror or chance upon an old photo.

It is the same for Josie, who might have become popular and won homecoming Queen, but underneath it all, she’s still the same grammar-loving girl she has always been, only this time, there is someone to appreciate all that she is. In typical rom-com fashion, everything works out in the end. She gets the hot teacher, becomes the reporter she always wanted to be, and has friends who will always have her back. Ultimately, the movie’s message is to trust time, and let it lead you to where you need to be – who knows, you might like where you end up.

Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. We cover gaming news, movie reviews, wrestling and much more.