To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is the kind of movie I’ve been dying to see more of. Inclusive, heartwarming and genuinely funny. Yes, it touches on a few rom-com tropes, but I don’t consider that to be a bad thing if they’re done correctly. And they are done correctly in To All The Boy’s I’ve Loved Before. Mostly.
I adored the cast. Lana Condor’s Lara Jean was smart and funny with just enough snark to make her pretty damn endearing. She was a strong female lead who didn’t back down when the resident mean girls were trying to intimidate her (as the high school mean girls so often do in these kinds of movies), or when she was struggling with her own feelings for the boys in her life. Not only that, but she was relatable as hell. She loves Golden Girls marathons, she’s afraid of driving, has very few (one?) friends and brings books with her on school ski trips (who doesn’t?).
Noah Centineo (so reminiscent of Mark Ruffalo that it was a little eerie sometimes) was charismatic as Peter, Lara Jean’s love interest. His character was so wonderfully fleshed out and proved that it was possible to be interesting and compassionate and *still* be Mr. Popular in teenage rom-coms.
The two main leads clicked right off the bat and I sort of wish this had been made into a Netflix series just so we could have seen more of their relationship develop rather than jumping from month to month. If I had any complaints about the movie it would be the supporting cast. I adored them all (more John Corbett please!) but would have loved to have seen them given more depth. Lara Jean’s best friend Chris (Madeleine Arthur) was a typical ‘free spirit’ best friend who loves Subway (a lot), but I would have loved to have seen more of their friendship during the course of LJ’s relationship with Peter. Gen (Emilija Baranac), Peter’s ex-girlfriend and LJ’s former best friend, was your cliched version of Popular Mean Girl who doesn’t seem to want Peter but has an issue with Peter supposedly wanting someone else.
There is a scene towards the end of the movie where Gen and LJ talk in the girl’s restroom that provides some insight into why their friendship may have ended, but it’s never really built on from there or comes to any satisfying conclusion. The bright spots are LJ’s family, her father (Corbett) and two sisters, Margot (Janel Parrish) and Kitty played by Anna Cathcart, who steals nearly every scene she’s in.
I really loved this film. The acting, the script, the cinematography, the music… it all clicked in a way so many rom-coms fail to do these days. Highly recommend!