TV Rating: TV-14
Director: Susan Johnson
Starring: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart. Full cast list.
A teenage girl’s secret love letters are exposed and wreak havoc on her love life. (via IMDB)
Lara Jean Covey writes letters to all of her past loves, the letters are meant for her eyes only. Until one day when all the love letters are sent out to her previous loves. Her life is soon thrown into chaos when her foregoing loves confront her one by one. (via IMDB)
My Rating: ★★★★½
I read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before earlier this year and absolutely loved it, so naturally I had to review the Netflix movie adaptation, too. You can check out my book review here. 🙂
When the movie was in production, I didn’t look into it too much because I wanted it to be a surprise. I didn’t even know how the cast looked like until the trailer. When the trailer was released, I became even more excited for the movie because the plot seemed like it was going to be so close to the book and the casting was nearly perfect!
The evening before Netflix released the movie, I stayed up waiting for midnight, constantly refreshing the page, willing it to appear already. At midnight, I’m not sure why it wouldn’t show up as available until after I logged out and logged back in again, but once I did that I could finally click play!
I ended up staying up late to watch the movie and was tired at work the next day, but it was so worth it.
Okay, first off I need to mention how amazing it was to see Asian representation in this movie! I never see an American movie where the heroine/main character is Asian and is portrayed so normally and beautifully. She wasn’t the side-kick or comedic relief, but the actual heroine of the story of a romantic comedy movie! Just that fact makes me smile.
One of the major highlights of the book for me had always been the strong bond between the sisters, so I was happy to see they kept that in the movie. It was so lovely and heartwarming to see all the sisterly moments. The actresses who portrayed Margo, Kitty, and especially Lara Jean were perfectly cast! They had such a great dynamic together and portrayed their respective characters so accurately, but I have to mention Lana Condor specifically because I felt that she was Lara Jean. She looked pretty much exactly how I imagined Lara Jean to look – hair, face, fashion style, and all – but it was her mannerisms and portrayal of this lovably quirky and shy character that really hit it out of the park for me. Lana really captured all aspects and quirks of Lara Jean’s character and I was left feeling so impressed by her.
I didn’t think I could adore Peter Kavinsky more than I already did, but I do now thanks to Noah Centineo. He wasn’t exactly how I remember picturing Peter in the book, but his portrayal of him was fantastic and, in some ways, an improvement to the original character. It’s not very often you see a high school jock portrayed in a rom-com as: a sweet guy with a profound sense of respect towards adults and women; with emotions and is unafraid to express them (and isn’t shamed or bullied for doing so); but also a little awkward and flawed. Also, his chemistry with Lana is beyond adorable. All their scenes together had me squee-ing over the cuteness of it all. I loved their back and forth banter with each other. Oh, and I especially need to mention how absolutely endearing their height difference is because I could not get over the cuteness of Lara Jean having to tiptoe to kiss Peter.
The entire movie was filmed in such an interesting way: It felt like a combination of old (because of all the soft colors) and current 2018. Does that make sense? Lol I especially loved how Lara Jean’s room was because it fitted her character so well, as well as convey her personality and that she’s a teenager. We only got a couple quick glances of Margot’s room but both times it was always clean, organized, and lightly decorated, whereas Lara Jean’s was very cluttered, colorful, and decorated to the brim. I also really liked the diner scenes! The entire setting was so cute and felt old but endearing with how much history it contained. It was especially heartwarming during the scene near the end with Lara Jean and her dad.
The only thing I can say that I didn’t like in this movie was the amount of Josh’s scenes. When I read the book I couldn’t help but adore both Peter and Josh, so I was a little disappointed that certain Josh scenes from the book were omitted in the movie. I also felt that their best friends relationship could have been portrayed better.
Overall, I absolutely fell in love with this movie adaptation of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and currently have already watched it twice. It was heartwarming, squee-worthy, sweet, hilarious, and wasn’t dumbed-down, overly dramatic or too cheesy. I really hope to see the sequels in the future! That clip after the credits already has me hyped for it!