“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”: A charmingly simple film

By Elli Lahdesmaki, Staff Writer

Romantic comedies are making a comeback, and the Netflix original movie “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” is one of the first to kick this off. Directed by Susan Johnson and based off a successful novel by Jenny Han, this movie delivers a heartfelt high school love story with an Asian-American, female lead. The film gives the teen generation what we want and what we were lacking —  old-fashioned, sweet romance movies.

The endearing movie is about introverted high school junior Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) how she unpredictably starts dating her crush, Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo). Lara Jean wrote love letters to all the boys she has liked in her past and keeps them safely in her room. When these letters get out, she begins a fake relationship with one of the recipients of a love letter —  Peter Kavinsky. Although this relationship is made-up and for their individual benefit, the two discover how similar they actually are. Inevitably, they fall in love and the film captures all their dreamy moments together, as well as the complications in their journey that gives the film its climax.

There hasn’t been a true Netflix Original rom-com in a long time, and this movie is the first to get the ball rolling again. Since its release, the movie has been everywhere: social media, news and YouTube. The film received an immense amount of positive feedback, which could start a chain of more romantic comedies following this path.  

The movie attracts a wide variety of people, but it is especially appealing to teen girls, who may find this movie relatable with the quirky and charmingly awkward main character. When girls see Lara Jean, they may see a little bit of themselves in her; she initially keeps her feelings bottled up and is afraid of telling people how she feels. The personal connections of individuals to the character of Lara Jean contributes to why this movie was such a big hit.

Through Lara Jean, To All the Boys delivers a message about opening up instead of keeping everything inside. Johnson successfully showed her audience the importance of expressing emotion instead of having a lack of communication with others and yourself.

Yet this movie also grazes the surface of representing Asian-Americans. Condor, an Asian-American actress, adds an important and inspiring aspect to the film. Since the lead role was specifically written for an Asian-American woman, this steps away from the norm of a main character of white ethnicity. This is a crucial part of the movie that deserves greater awareness from the audience. The representation of an Asian-American girl as the main character encourages and motivates other young Asians and aspiring actors to take a leap forward.

Teen girls have also fallen in love with the main male actor: Noah Centineo. The 22-year old is blowing up on the internet, practically having won everyone’s hearts through his amiable persona.

While some may argue that this movie is too cliche and sappy, that seems to be the case with any romantic comedy. The film does a good job trying to stay away from the typical “jock falls in love with the cheerleader” storyline and instead vividly paints a new and refreshing style.

This is a simple high school love story, but the way it was crafted is what gave it the twist it needed to become so popular.