Let me just tell you right now, this film is solid 5 ⭐ , gold, coming of age material.
Based on a novel by the same name, penned by Jenny Han, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is a story of a lonely half-Asian, half-American teen, Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) who is used to living life vicariously through her elder sister Margot Covey (Janel Parrish). She also writes love-letters to her crushes, but they’re a diary of sorts. These letters aren’t to be mailed. Ever.
When these letters mysteriously find their way to their respective recipients (one of them is Margot’s boyfriend) Lara Jean is lost about what to do, especially because her elder sister has moved to Scotland for college. And that’s when the story actually begins. This story isn’t merely about finding love, but more about Lara Jean’s journey of finding herself amidst the drama of real life.
Author Jenny Han recently stated she chose to go with a production house that would cast racially correct actors for the film’s characters. This choice became a defining point for All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Casting Lara Condor as Lara Jean Covey proves a point without actually having to prove a point (via script), representation of self matters and it in turn shows how life between culturally different people might not be so very different after all.
Another thing I love about this film is the character of Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo). Peter is a far cry from the high school jocks of ages past who often wooed a girl to win a bet (I’m talking about you Freddie Prinze Jr.) and in process fell in love with her. Na-uh. Consider Kavinsky Jock 2.0, he doesn’t shy away from talking about his struggle, emotional ones and in life. He has no hidden motives (from Lara Jean at least) and is up front about what he wants while also considering about what others want from him too. He also does not have a father grooming him for a seat on the board cliche weighing him down either. The fact that his sensitivity does not hinder his popularity among friends is a message to kids out there itself.
The familial support that Lara Jean receives from her father and sisters and the screen-time dedicated to the same is great as opposed to the overlooked parental guidance storyline present in most mainstream teen flicks. It’s important to mention this since often these points that are evident in books are glossed over in visual representation.
Kudo’s to Awesomeness TV for backing such a project!
Those of you who have read the book, you know what a great job Jenny Han has done of conveying this coming of age journey that tugs your heartstrings and brings in some nostalgia. Now let me tell you that the film portrays this beautiful story flawlessly. From the simplicity of some quality family time to the complex drama of high school corridors (eye roll), ex best-friends, love lost and rediscovered, this one and a half hour of motion picture takes you through all of it.
Not that you need me to say this, but well done Netflix. 😉
Until next time, U.