The Kissing Booth : A Theory

For those of you dumbs-dumbs who spent the last five months watching less-respected content like Killing Eve and Barry, here’s a quick rundown of the plot of The Kissing Booth before I go full conspiracy theory on you: Two families have children minutes apart; one has a daughter named Elle, another a boy named Lee. Elle and Lee carry on the family tradition and become best friends, that is, until she falls in love with his older hunk brother Noah. There, that’s the plot. You’re all caught up.

Oh, wait. I almost forgot: Elle’s mom dies. 
The film implies it was cancer.

It wasn’t cancer.

She was murdered.  But by who?

That’s what we’re here to figure out.

CLUE #1: The Flynn’s House
After the opening montage, where they completely breeze over the death of Elle’s mom like they’re covering up a crime (they are), we find Elle poolside at Lee’s house.  No, not house. Mansion maybe? That still doesn’t do it justice. I mean, look at this thing!

This movie is set in Los Angeles, where you have to sell one of your livers (do we have more than one liver? Sorry, I stopped watching ER after Clooney left) to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Canoga Park. And wait, hold on. I just noticed this is a beach front property. I can’t even imagine how much this thing costs. I honestly don’t think numbers go that high.

What I’m saying is: Lee’s family, The Flynns, are insanely rich.

And there’s the first clue in the unsolved murder of Elle’s mom. We got a rich ass family. And we all know what goes hand-in-hand with rich ass families. That’s right! Secrets.

Again, just to clarify: I am the only one saying she was murdered. It’s not like there’s some LAPD detective out there still haunted by this case, looking for answers. No one in the movie says she was murdered.

But I am.

Clue #2: Mr. Flynn, Lee and Noah’s Dad
Lee and Noah Flynn’s parents are completely MIA nearly the entire movie; almost as if they’re leading double lives (hmmm). Their kids have full reign of their compound (COMPOUND! That’s the word I’ve been looking for!) where they absolutely run wild with little to no adult supervision. Which is great for two high school boys, but as a viewer, as a father of two, I kept asking aloud “Uh, where are their parents?”

Then we meet their father at a weekly brunch between The Flynns and The Evans. It’s tradition, Elle says. Tradition? Or is it a mandatory sit down between families? Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Played by South African actor Morne Visser, Mr. Flynn speaks in a confident, yet chilling accent. Over brunch, a seemingly innocent talk about Noah’s football season shot chills down my spine. There was an underlying sinisterness to every word Mr. Flynn spoke, as if he wasn’t talking about football at all but, I dunno, trying to sell the identities of every covert agents to a drug cartel.

And then it happens. A picture comes into focus. And it hits you (me. probably just me) like a ton of smooches at a high school kissing booth: Mr. Flynn is a world-renowned super villain, with wealth beyond imagination. It all fits together. 

Think about any bad guy in a direct to video action thriller and you get Mr. Flynn. Drugs. Guns. Women. You name it, he’s got his paws around it.

Does he sell weapons to terrorists? I’d say that’s likely.

Has he helped a militia overthrow a democratically elected government in a third world country? *Checks his LinkedIn* Yep, he sure has.

Has he kidnapped Liam Neeson’s daughter once or twice climbing the ladder of villainy? You bet your sweet ass he has.

We already have a murder (we really don’t) And now we have a suspect (again, he’s probably a great dad who has a wholesome, yet demanding job.)

So let’s keep digging.

Clue #3: Elle’s Dad
Look at this sad sack.  Mr. Evans, Elle’s single father, is a timid man, who speaks in mumbles and grunts and won’t look anyone in the eye because life has knocked him on his ass. He carries himself like he’s a man full of regret; especially around Mr. Flynn,  he carries himself with a beaten down servitude. I know I just described every single father in a teen romcom (Kevin Pollack in She’s All That comes to mind) but go with me here.

Why does he hate the idea of his daughter falling in love with Noah Flynn? The families are super close, shouldn’t he be ecstatic that he knows who his daughter is dating and what type of family he comes from? Or maybe that’s exactly why he’s so against it, because he knows what kind of family Noah comes from.

What does he do for a living? From what I gathered, Elle lives in the Pacific Palisades in yet another gorgeous, astronomically expensive house. Yet Elle’s dad seems like a Bruce Springsteen song come to life. How can he afford a beautiful, multi-million dollar house all on his own.

What if…what if Mr. Flynn and Mr. Evans are in business together. And that’s what ultimately got Elle’s mom killed. 

Putting it All Together
I might get some of the smaller details wrong (you know, like which poison was used, if they burned down the hospital when doctors were conducting the autopsy on Elle’s mom to hide any evidence of a murder, etc) but here is, more or less, what happened to Elle’s mom in The Kissing Booth.

The Flynns and The Evans were in business together in the late 1990s. Probably buying and selling plutonium or anthrax or some awfulax on the black market. Business was good. Both families made buttloads of money. They had a hell of run.

But you know what always stops a successful criminal enterprise? No, not cops. Pregnancy. Kids. Real life. Tale as old as time: criminal kingpins have a kid and grow a heart. I’ve seen it a million times.

Joni and Mike Evans tried to walk away from their criminal ways, but their their partners wouldn’t let them go. They knew too much, saw too much. Knew where all the bodies were buried.  Not metaphorically either. Don’t be so naive: both Elle and Lee’s parents in The Kissing Booth are stone cold killers.

The Flynns knew they only had one option: kill Joni to keep Mike and keep the business going. And with their ample supply of anthrax, or any of their stockpile chemical weapons they sold on the low, they poisoned Joni.

I haven’t seen anything like this since Cold War Russia,” the doctors said to a dying Joni, knowing she was poisoned but unable to do anything to help her. It was the slowest hit imaginable. But the message was loud and clear: you can’t walk away from this. From us.

After Joni dies The Flynns make a simple deal with Mike: put your head down and continue your part of the business. Raise your kids and if you don’t, we’ll kill you and raise sweet little Elle as our own.

Mike knew he was out of options, so he buries his wife and accepts his fate: he goes back to work with The Flynns selling rocket launchers, drugs, and hacked Samsung 7s, and as the years pass, he watches his daughter fall in love with the son of the parents who murdered his wife.  And there’s nothing he can do but grit his teeth, smile, and go to Saturday brunch and talk high school football.

And this is the plot of The Kissing Booth, the best teen romantic comedy now streaming on Netflix.