With over two hours of running time there’s a lot to unpack in The Kissing Booth 2. It’s a pandora’s box of teenage angst from tested friendships, long distance troubles, college applications, tuition fee woes, and a whole dance competition. While everyone will definitely be talking about the main love triangle between Elle (Joey King), Noah (Jacob Elordi), and the charming new guy Marco (Taylor Zakhar Perez), how about we discuss subplots instead?
On Being the Third Wheel
Our returning protagonist Elle, for her part, goes through one messy rollercoaster. Apart from her ever-conflicting thoughts on whether to give Noah, who’s now an official Harvard boy, some space and wanting some assurance for their relationship, she also unknowingly finds herself in a bind between Lee (Joel Courtney) and his girlfriend Rachel (Meganne Young). You see, without Noah around to keep her preoccupied, she’s practically glued to her BFF and, by extension, ends up as a total date-wrecker without realizing it. The situation quickly drives a wedge in Lee and Rachel’s relationship as the latter’s jealousy—and Elle’s overt obliviousness to it all— has Lee torn between the two girls.
It isn’t a strange occurrence, of course. Most everyone in their life has been that friend, a.k.a. the third wheel. That said, if you’re currently in Elle’s shoes, Joey King’s got some sound advice for you. For the actress, the key word is self-awareness. “I think the hardest part about having a best friend who gets in a relationship is knowing when to give them their space. For sure that’s not just an issue that Elle and Lee struggle with, but best friends all over the world,” Joey tells Preview. “I think, knowing that that person’s still your best friend no matter what even if they have another person in their life, you gotta give them the space to feel all their feelings, and just be supportive and be there for them when they need it.”
As for her say on how to deal with a long distance relationship like Elle and Noah’s? “The biggest key is communication and making sure the other person is seen and heard, and that you feel seen and heard, and just being open and honest with each other.”
On the Boys Love Subplot
Another attention-grabbing subplot swimming in TKB2’s sea of conflicts is the budding attraction between two of Elle’s schoolmates, Ollie (Judd Krok) and Miles (Evan Hengst). The pair act timid around each other at first but soon finally confess their feelings near the end of the movie with one big smooch. After all, it wouldn’t be The Kissing Booth without a big kiss scene for a climax.
Though admittedly short for screen time, this small LGBT storyline is one that the cast is proud of, but perhaps no one speaks of it more passionately than Maisie Richardson-Sellers, who plays Chloe in the film. You may recognize her as Noah’s potential new love interest in Harvard.
“I think it’s absolutely crucial because it’s often left out of this genre. If it is YA, it’s often a film purely about that [coming out]. I love the fact that with this, it just happens, they fall in love regardless of gender,” starts the actress who openly identifies as queer. In fact, she even revealed that the scenes between Ollie and Miles brought her to tears.
“Watching rom-com films when I was growing up, I didn’t see the representation I needed so I cried when I watched it the first time, because it really touched me knowing how important that would have been for me to see at that age. I’m just really excited for people to know that their stories matter within this genre and that they are apart of this just as much as any other representation.”
Curious how all of these pockets of stories tie together? Catch The Kissing Booth 2 now exclusively on Netflix.