I know. This post is late. BUT. I’m all about the movie still and I’ve been rewatching it, too. Like 80% of the population, anywhere. And no, I’m not lonely.
I think it’s safe to say I’m a hopeless romantic so when this movie was announced to be on Netflix, I got excited. My initial thought was,what, a teenage Asian female lead? Breaking stereotypes? Possibly relatable struggles? Noah Frickin’ Centineo? Teen romance? YES.
I don’t think another teen romcom has struck me as much as To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, not that I can remember at least. There weren’t many that I’ve watched that I could truly believe in and despite totally ridiculous circumstances in ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’, I was still drawn in. I fell in love with Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky as individuals and grew to swoon over them as a couple even more.
Let me preface that I have read the books and enjoyed those, too. Adding to the 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, I’m just going to go ahead with what I thought about the movie. Beware of spoilers, though, so you might not want to read this if you haven’t watched it beforehand.
First of all… What was missing:
I felt that a few things were missing, but since I’ve read the books, I know things were planned differently. Maybe they just didn’t know how to put everything in the given timeframe of the movie.
The father seemed a bit too chill and he definitely had way more wise advice to give in the book. He was just a very chill, loving father in the background. And Josh was barely even part of the movie even though he was one of the main leads in the book. I found that was a pity because his importance and relevance came too short.
But apart from minor pet-peeves, I’ve mostly enjoyed the movie. So here goes me gushing about it:
Oh, so relatable Lara-Jean.
I mean I was Lara-Jean, crushing on so many guys, not necessarily writing to them, but definitely journalling about them. Fantasizing, just really feeding into the minor crushes I would develop over time as a teenager.
Then there’s this weeny bit of awkwardness and clumsiness in her that reminds me so much of myself as well. And the way she’s a hopeless romantic, yet so afraid of love and being vulnerable and also being a bit clueless – that’s so me. It kind of shocked me a little bit when I noticed so many similarities and I kind of wished I would’ve read the book or seen the movie sooner, when I was still a struggling teenager, fantasizing, but never really acting on anything when I liked someone.
Because Lara-Jean dreams about being in love and could be considered slightly “boy crazy” but she doesn’t want to rush into physical experiences with guys at all. Many of those around Lara-Jean consider her “the innocent one.” But though some of her peers see this as a negative trait (being inexperienced), Lara-Jean doesn’t view her innocence as a problem at all. I think this is a very good and important trait because I’ve been viewed a similar way before and have seen myself in a doomed light.
She learns about love, rejection, moving on and how sometimes romance doesn’t work out by watching her older sister Margot in her relationship. This also reminded me of myself because even though I never had much experience with boys back then, I learned a lot by being observant.
She gets along very well with her sisters which I also know from my own family situation: My younger sister and I are inseparable. We’re not the kind of siblings to argue all the time, if anything, we formed a kind, cohesive family bond early on.
She doesn’t allow anyone to steamroll her and luckily, she’s not the kind of shy quiet character that just lets people stomp over her. She can fight back if she wants to and she can be confronting if she needs to be. She learns to step out of her shadow and be the leading lady that she can be. She also realizes that her choices have a real impact upon the people around her, even in moments when she feels invisible. And that is one lesson that I’d also learned.
Oh, Peter. Main lead everyone immediately fell for. Kavinsky is described as someone who is always confident and who makes other people enjoy his company. He’s made out to be the popular jock but he doesn’t seem cocky at all, even though he is described that way in the book, which is a nice minor “switch-up” for a romcom character dynamic. He is kind, thoughtful and although he jokes a lot, he’s absolutely serious when it comes to his relationships.
It’s obvious he himself gets embarrassed and self-conscious sometimes. Which makes him more real. I don’t know if it’s just because Noah Centineo played him so incredibly well or whether it’s because I’ve loved Peter in the book anyway. But yes. Yes to Peter.
Peter & Lara-Jean.
I just adore them as a couple. Because they’re an unlikely one, and it is truly based on growing connection, not fairytale-love-at-first-sight or other ridiculously schemed circumstances. I loved how their infatuation grew over-time and gradually bloomed in an underwhelming but strong understanding. They seem to have nothing in common, him being the popular jock and her being somewhat outcast with one best friend, but they have a lot in common in their personal lives. They’re able to share difficult details of their lives with each other, they don’t just have fun hanging out, they truly listen to one another.
Even though there are some clichés, I didn’t mind them in this movie. I loved how they confessed without having to confess and eventually, you’re left with the wistful feeling of, Wow, this couple is candid and forever-strong.
What I always look for in movies are messages to the watcher. There’s plenty of romcoms that I just simply physically cannot bare (like Kissing Booth or Sierra Burgess Is A Loser & more) but this one had multiple great messages about self-confidence, honesty and family unity next to trust, courage and connection.
Romantic stories create unrealistic expectations. Love doesn’t always play out the way we think it will because it’s messier and much more, well, real. While watching, that’s exactly the discovery Lara-Jean makes herself. She learns about herself and her values and gradually accepts that real life is much more complex than the fantasies that she harbored in her head.
Colourful throwback to the 90s. Really appreciated the cinematography. The characters dressed accordingly, mixed with contemporary styles, as well.
What did you think of the movie?