First of all, I promise not to include any spoilers for Netflix’s loveable new teen romcom, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, but you need to watch it ASAP. Because it’s beautiful.
The film is an adaptation of Jenny Han’s best selling YA novel and since it debuted on Netflix on Friday it has a huge and immediately obsessed fanbase. Many, like me have watched the film multiple times already because that is what this movie does to you.
— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) August 17, 2018
Lana Condor plays Lara Jean, a high school girl whose private love letters to all her crushes past and present get ‘mistakenly’ delivered, causing a classically unrealistic yet enchanting plot line to ensue.
It has all the charm of your favourite 90’s teen movies from She’s All That to 10 Things I Hate About You, but it’s revamped to suit the 21st century. To All The Boys is gleefully sweet and wholesome with characters that are interesting and kind to each other.
It is essentially guaranteed to make you feel good.
Oh god looooooovvvveeedd All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. It gave me that same gleeful, heart bursting feeling Love, Simon did. Just so fun and full of eighties teen movie warmth and trope-ness.
Only without the garbage.
— Chaz Stein (@Charlotte_Stein) August 19, 2018
This film is also the first mainstream teen romance to have an Asian American actress play the lead, and the best part is that that is neither ignored nor the defining aspect of her character.
Author Jenny Han shared in a New York Times oped that only one of the production companies that approached her about the film adaptation was willing to keep Lara Jean Asian American.
“One producer said to me, as long as the actress captures the spirit of the character, age and race don’t matter,” Han wrote. “I said, well, her spirit is Asian-American. That was the end of that.”
Too many things to love about Netflix's To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: The story, the sets, the cast, the music, the message and I could go on and on. Loved it! pic.twitter.com/EQSRUPtlnV
— Mike Morrison 🏳️🌈 (@mikesbloggity) August 19, 2018
As far as eye candy goes, there is plenty of beautiful people to look at in this film. Most notably, our leading hunk Peter Kavinski, played by Noah Centineo. I love him, and you will too. This boy has changed me.
You also get to enjoy seeing Aidan from Sex and the City (John Corbett) playing an OB-GYN and a adorable dorky dad to Lara Jean and her two sisters.
I’m not even exaggerating I was feeling super sick all day and after watching To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before I genuinely feel better. That movie cured me.
— vivian 🦋never met tay (@allyouwantedts) August 19, 2018
No spoilers, but one of the best moments in the film is the sly nod to the problematic Hollywood stereotypes that have tainted most classic teen movies – when our main characters bond over John Hughes’ Sixteen Candles.
Peter observes that the exchange student character portrayed by Japanese American actor Gedde Watanabe is “like, kind of racist.” To which Lara Jean responds, “Not kind of. Extremely racist.”
It’s a great way of highlighting how much we needed a teen heroine like Lara Jean, who transcends the racial and gendered stereotypes.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is breathing new life into the long-gone golden age of teen romance films, and showing how to do it better.
It’s the kind of lovely, easy-to-watch, teen film that is all fantasy and fun and absolutely 100% better get a sequel or there will be (more) tears.