Kombuchas, selfies, and social media is what separates this modern-day teen movie from the ones made in the 80s.
This post for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before contains spoilers.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018, directed by Susan Johnson) is essentially a movie about a high school teen who is figuring out what it’s like to be in a relationship with a boy for the first time. The movie is based on the best-selling YA novel of the same name by Jenny Han, and follows the story of 16-year-old high school teen Lara Jean (Lana Condor) who wrote 5 love letters to 5 boys and one day discovers that they have all been mailed out.
I had heard about this movie and book before, but going into it, I didn’t know that Lara Jean was going to be in a pretend-relationship with Peter (Noah Centineo)—one of the boys she wrote a love letter to. The movie definitely felt like the premise of an 80s movie such as Can’t Buy Me Love. I guess this movie trope of being in a fake relationship is pretty common, seeing that there’s an IMDb list dedicated to listing out this type of movies.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is cute in many ways because even though the relationship between Peter and Lara Jean started out as pretend; it all becomes real when they start falling for one another, and the great thing is that their on-screen chemistry is believable too. I really enjoyed one particular scene at the Corner Cafe where Peter asks Lara Jean why hasn’t she had a boyfriend before.
Lara Jean: Okay. Um… so love and dating? I love to read about it, and it’s fun to write about and to think about in my head. But, when it’s real…
Peter: What? It’s scary?
Lara Jean: Yeah.
Peter: Why? Why is that scary?
Lara Jean: ‘Cause the more people you let into your life, the more that can just walk right out.
It’s just what she says that reflects the idea that being in love and dating is scary at any age because people leave when things don’t work out perfectly. But this movie also teaches audiences that you can’t avoid love because the heart wants what it wants.
After the clichéd Netflix teen movie called The Kissing Booth, which came out in May, I’m glad that Netflix has started releasing better teen rom-coms such as To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. I would definitely recommend anyone of any age to watch it because it’s one of those movies that doesn’t try too hard to get audiences to like it.
Sidenotes on To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before:
- The first 20 minutes of the movie was focused on Lara Jean trying to get over the fact that her older sister Margot (Janel Parrish) is about to fly off to Scotland for college. I felt really confused when watching Parrish play the older sister because she is definitely too old to be playing the role of an 18-year-old college student; I even mistook her as their mother at first, then realised that was wrong because they are being raised by in a single-parent home as their mother had passed away.
- Whatever happened to the scrunchie that Lara Jean gave to Peter, which Peter’s ex-girlfriend Gen (Emilija Baranac) took from him?
- Israel Broussard who plays Josh looks exactly like Rami Malek in the movie.
- At first, the way the characters said the name Lara Jean felt so unnatural, but I slowly got used to it. I mean who actually goes by two names in the real world?