One of the most popular teen romantic comedies of recent years, ‘The Kissing Booth’ (2018) has everything that the fans of the genre can possibly ask for — from an all-around good looking cast portraying cookie-cutter characters to a heavy dosage of romance and friendship with enough sprinklings of conflict to make the plot interesting. Its massive success led to the development of a film series. The second installment, ‘The Kissing Booth 2’ (2020), is a perfect sequel. It introduces new characters and takes the story forward in a comprehensive way. The films are based on the books of the same name by Beth Reekles. Here is the story so far in ’The Kissing Booth’ film series. SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Kissing Booth 1 Recap
Shelly “Elle” Evans (Joey King) and Lee Flynn (Joel Courtney) were born on the same time, same day in the same hospital in Los Angeles, California, and their respective mothers, Sara (Molly Ringwald) and Joni (Chloe Williams), were best friends. So understandably, Elle and Lee have been inseparable since childhood. While they do virtually everything together, their favorite activity is performing on an arcade dance machine. Since Elle lost her mother to a terminal illness at age 14, Sara has been the mother figure in her and her brother Brad’s lives. Elle has a crush on Lee’s older brother Noah (Jacob Elordi), who rides a motorcycle and gets into fights.
Elle and Lee have this set of rules of friendship that both of them must follow. Some are pretty mundane and silly, like rule number 8: best friends must tell each other if there is something stuck in their teeth or on their face. Others sound like the implementation of boundaries. For instance, rule number 9 stipulates relatives of your best friend are off-limits. But that doesn’t stop Elle from dreaming about Noah. Representing the school’s dance club, Elle and Lee organize a kissing booth for their school fundraiser. Elle tries to convince Noah to be present at the booth, but he declines.
However, she still goes ahead and tells the popular OMG girls (Olivia, Mia, and Gwyneth) that he will be there. On the day of the fundraiser, the kissing booth turns out to be the most successful event. Realizing that his brother may not show up, Lee steps behind the booth as they had promised that there would be a Flynn there. However, the girls were expecting Noah. When it seems no one will kiss him, a girl named Rachel (Meganne Young) does.
The OMG girls think that Elle has lied to them and tries to punish her, making her kiss an ordinary boy from their school. However, Noah is the one who ultimately kisses a blindfolded Elle. One thing leads to another, and they eventually start dating secretly. Inevitably, Lee finds out, and Elle ends up alienating herself from both Lee and Noah. She eventually reconciles with Lee while dancing with him on the arcade and later makes him realize that she truly loves Noah.
Elle also reunites with Noah and starts a real relationship. When Noah goes to attend Harvard University, the two of them decide to make their long-distance relationship work. In her voiceover, Elle admits that she is unsure whether the relationship will last, but she knows that a part of her will always belong to Noah.
The Kissing Booth 2 Recap
The second film begins with Noah in Harvard and Elle and Lee in their senior year of high school. As they have done everything else in their lives together, Elle and Lee have plans to attend the University of California, Berkeley. However, Noah tells Elle that he wants her to attend Harvard or one of the other universities in Boston so they can regularly see each other. This makes Elle’s life suddenly complicated. She notices that a beautiful young woman named Chloe (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) is part of Noah’s circle of friends and becomes jealous.
Elle travels to Boston to see Noah and visit the campuses of the universities. When she finds an earring under Noah’s bed, she grows suspicious that it belongs to Chloe. After going back home, she speaks to her father about college tuition. After learning that the family doesn’t have enough money to support her if she attends a private college, she enters an arcade dance competition, hoping to win it and use the money to fund her education.
Meanwhile, Lee and Rachel’s relationship suffer because of Elle’s constant presence in all of their activities. Lee pretends that he is injured and convinces Elle to ask the newest popular guy at their school, Marco Valentin Peña (Taylor Zakhar Perez), to partner up with her for the competition. Marco has already agreed to be present at the kissing booth that the two friends are organizing at the Charity Fair. He ultimately accepts Elle’s request, and the two begin practicing.
On the day of the competition, Lee finds out that Elle is thinking about attending Harvard. Elle and Marco win the competition, after which he kisses her. Noah, who is in the audience, sees this and leaves. All of Elle, Lee, and Noah’s anger and frustration over each other’s actions erupt during the Flynn family Thanksgiving dinner.
Rachel later breaks up with Lee after discovering that he has never spoken to Elle about giving them space. It is revealed that even though the earring does belong to Chloe, it fell off her ear the night Noah wasn’t in his room, and she slept on his bed. Their relationship is similar to the one between Lee and Elle.
Ultimately, Rachel and Lee reconcile. Marco kisses Elle, but she tells him that while she has feelings for him, she doesn’t think he is the one for her. Elle eventually finds Noah in the same park where they shared their first kiss, and they get back together. After graduation day, Elle tells Lee, Noah, and Rachel that she has been put on the waiting lists of both Harvard and Berkeley. In reality, she has been accepted in both universities but hasn’t decided which one to attend.
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