To All The Rom-Coms I’ve Watched Before


The summer of 2018 brought us the ‘it’ movie for the next few years. Another shy female lead and a sporty male but somehow written in a fresh way. The imaginative Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and lover boy Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) star in “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before;” a new take on what it means to fall in love.

Susan Johnson’s production of Jenny Han’s best selling book shows what falling in love as a teenager looks like. When Lara Jean falls in love, she expresses it by writing love letters that she never plans on sending. A mysterious event occurs and her letters are sent. Everyone she’s had feelings for will know and will end up confronting her. Whether or not she is capable of dealing with the consequences is what drives the story.

The opposites attract trope is used extensively throughout the movie with the shy and imaginative daydreamer, Lara Jean, who is learning to handle the social and sporty personality of Peter Kavinsky, who seems to spend more time going to parties than anything else. The relationship does not feel forced and flows naturally as the movie continues, since their different perspectives gives both characters a new point of view on how they should live their lives.

The beautiful relationship between not only the actual characters but also the stars was a nice, refreshing change from the emotionless dynamic between many co-stars from previous movies. While this movie had the possibility of becoming another cliche teen romance, the interpretation of realistic and high quality characters distinguish it from other similar movies.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, is based on Han’s trilogy and fans couldn’t be happier with the beautiful interpretation of the charming story. Some things were changed, like in most movies, yet the foundation that made fans love the story is still there. No big changes were added to the plot, but some important scenes seemed to have been taken out. An important scene with major couple development was removed from the movie and the extent of their feelings was unknown to the audience until the actual ending. In the book, Han was able to show emotions when Kavinsky got jealous about the idea of Lara Jean with someone else and made it clear he felt something real for her earlier on in the story.

The few times that relatively well known movies include non caucasians as their leads, it leaves much to be desired. The term ‘whitewash’ is most suitable for what comes out on screen.  This production is not immune to this as for half of the movie, you forget that the lead is not adopted with a white father and little sister. It should be mentioned that although Korean culture was not a main aspect, Johnson clearly tried to incorporate it.

The realistic characters make up for the lack of cultural diversity. At many times, the audience could see the way the characters were growing as the movie continued, which shows how teenagers grow through experience. In movies, directors seem to focus more on getting the plot moving than actually getting the audience to fall in love with the character, but it is clear to see that they took special care with every line written to express the feelings of not only Lara Jean, but also Peter.

The character of Peter seems to get so much attention more so because of his actor, rather than the actual character. Although Centineo is a known sweetheart, at times, during the movies Peter seemed to lack a good personality. It was clear they played off the stereotypical jock with a heart, but not enough as too not make him seem voiceless.

You can clearly see how they chose to focus on the love perspective rather than her ethnicity or Peter’s personality, but it was not something that stopped the storyline from progressing in a good style. The fact that the author, Jenny Han, had three books to spread out this information, it is understandable that it wasn’t a big part of the one hour and 39 minute movie.

Although not everybody agrees that the director was able to stray from the usual cheesiness that comes with a high school romance, the 95 percent Rotten Tomatoes review shows how well received the movie seems to be through viewers of all ages.