To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before follows Lara Jean, an average teen who finds her life suddenly upended when her secret love letters get sent out to their subjects. In ploy to cover up her real feelings she enters into a fake relationship with Peter Kavinsky, a hot lacrosse player who enters into the fake relationship in hope of getting his popular girlfriend, Genevieve, back. As the ruse develops both begin to question if it’s even a ruse at all.
Now I am not really a romantic comedy type of person, unless it’s from the 1980s and stars Molly Ringwald then I am totally obsessed, but that’s another story. Anywho, I think the reason I like this movie so much is that it has the same genuine self-awareness of older teen rom-coms. It knows what it is and isn’t trying to be anything else It’s completely unapologetic. Now other movies have tried this same approach and failed miserably, churning out half baked, mediocre Netflix original flicks in the past. However, what this one did right was adapt a smart novel and ideal casting. The leads in this are so likable and so charming that despite its cheese it elevates the story and traditional romcom tropes and makes them almost likable again. Plus thank god movies are casting stars that actually pass for high schoolers. Sure they’re a little old, but not even close to some of the full blown adults Disney has been trying to shove into senior year high school halls. They’re a believable cast that makes the story work, and god bless Lara Jeans little sister Kitty, who genuinely made me smile a few times. She’s awesome. In essence, what makes this story so relatable is that yes we’ve seen it before but it dares to add little new touches that separate from the endless slosh of romantic comedies that proceeded it.
I think Netflix has the opportunity to really explore this weird niche of the neo-romcom. Ditch the offensiveness of the 90s, the wacky disbelief of the 2000s and make smart romantic comedies that explore and grow their characters. Set it Up was smart, Sierra Burgess is Loser wasn’t as clean cut as the others but had smart writing and fully fleshed out characters, and Netflix (although not sinless there are some really stupid romcoms there too) has recently done a great job of building smart characters we actually want to fall in love with. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before leaned on a lot of relatively unknown actors and actresses, and it’s pretty obvious that if you’ve opened Buzzfeed in the past three months then you know none of them are that unknown anymore. I’m looking at you Noah Centineo, I’m looking at you.
Anyways, whether or not you’ve read the book this is a fun romantic comedy with leads you root for and characters you care about. Honestly I’m pretty happy this is a book trilogy because it means we’ll probably be seeing these kids again in 2019.
Amy’s Recommendation: 9/10