To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before made me fall in love


Image courtesy of Plan A Magazine. Lara Jean Covey, played by Lana Condor, surrounded by doodles about Josh, Peter, her letters, and love.

Pratika Katiyar

*If you haven’t watched the movie or read the book, I recommend doing that! Spoilers lie ahead, read at your own risk.*

After “The Kissing Booth” was released, I told myself I would never fall in love with any other romantic comedy again. The emphasis on friendship in addition to romance won me over, and the actors’ on screen personalities left me smiling. However, when “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” came out, suddenly “The Kissing Booth” had some competition.

The movie revolves around 16-year-old Lara Jean Covey, played by Lana Condor, an introverted Korean-American with strong ties to her family. Her sisters Kitty and Margot, played by Anna Cathcart and Janel Parrish respectively, play a huge role in helping Lara Jean grow. Despite Lara Jean’s shy personality, she often lives in her own fantasy world. Her vivid imagination leads her to start writing letters to all her crushes. One day, the letters get sent out, and she is left trying to explain herself. This involves pretending to be romantically involved with Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), so that her actual crush named Josh Sanderson (Israel Broussard) doesn’t find out.

You might be thinking that this is cliché, and in some ways, I agree. The male lead is the spitting image of Aaron Samuels from “Mean Girls,” and the antagonist is your typical Regina George. If I had to describe the movie in three words, it would be wholesome, endearing, and yes, cheesy. However, the cast’s performance and on screen chemistry completely distracts from the predictable plot, and the film perfectly encaptures what it feels like to fall in love in high school.

The Netflix Original not only captured the hearts of high schoolers, but it also captured the attention of Asian-Americans because of its unique minority representation. Lara Jean wasn’t portrayed as the typical bookworm in the front of the class with a stuttering accent; instead, she was just a normal adolescent with everyday problems. The film dug a little deeper, and showed how Lara Jean dealt with the death of her mom, and how Peter Kavinsky dealt with his father leaving his family. The romance was also different than your average ‘parties and drugs’ 21st century romance, it showed the innocent and traditional aspects of love, like writing letters and sharing vulnerabilities.

Despite its portrayal of young love, the biggest criticism I have for the movie was its misrepresentation of the book. As an avid reader, I read the trilogy by Jenny Han around two years ago. In my opinion, they did not develop Josh and Margot’s characters well, and did not give a solid backstory on how they got together, why Josh dislikes Peter, and they got rid of the scene where Josh kisses Lara Jean. Additionally, the side plot from the book where Lara Jean gets in touch with John Ambrose Mcclaren, another recipient of a letter, is completely cut out from the movie. I love how the film focuses on Peter and Lara Jean’s relationship, but the discrepancy between the movie and the book left me slightly disappointed. If there is a sequel, which rumors say there will be, my expectations are definitely set high.

Although some people may not enjoy this heartfelt rom-com, I personally found it an escape from the stress of real life. Both the movie and the books make you feel like you are Lara Jean, experiencing everything she does. And if you’re like me, you wouldn’t mind finding a Peter Kavinsky.