Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Summary: High school junior Lara Jean (Lana Condor) has always been a romantic in her head, but finds dating and courtship a lot more daunting in real life. Case in point, every time she has a serious crush, she writes a love letter and keeps it in a box. Well, her younger sister Kitty (Anna Cathcart) takes matters into her own hands after seeing how miserable Lara is and mails all the letters. Unfortunately, one of the letters was addressed to her older sister Margoh’s (Janel Parrish) ex-boyfriend Josh (Israel Broussard), so to cover her butt, she makes a deal with another letter recipient Peter (Noah Centineo) to be her fake boyfriend and help this all blow over. Three unintentional consequences come from this: being popular for the first time in her life, becoming rivals with her former best friend Gen (Emilija Baranac), and suddenly being faced with the danger of developing actual feelings for someone. Man, high school can be exhausting.

Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, apart from having the longest title I’ve seen recently, is incredibly charming and a remarkably fresh idea. While the plot may sound like an inane story from the diary of an obnoxiously peppy high schooler, it plays out in a way that’s just upbeat enough without feeling like a weird fantasy. It helps that the characters are (mostly) really likable and the story has plenty of turns that keep it interesting. Of course, you’ll have to get past the tackiness of one of its production company being named “Awesomeness Films,” but that’s really not important.

This film actually reminds me a lot of The Kissing Booth, if only because this movie zigs in every place the other film zags. For one thing, the film acknowledges the problems with the characters and doesn’t trivialize things like sexual assault or toxic masculinity. And while both movies involve the main character’s mom dying, here it’s more integrated into the story as opposed to The Kissing Booth where it was tacked on and tacky. Also, seeing as this movie’s source material was an actual published young adult novel, there was probably plenty of quality control in the story’s early stages.

I applaud the diversity-based choice of making Lara Jean and her sisters not only Asian, but Korean and mixed-race. That’s consistent with the original book, of course, but it’s great that Netflix didn’t force the filmmakers to change this. Plus, Lara Jean’s Caucasian father (John Corbett) is the perfect dorky dad and he’s so endearing in every scene he’s in. Kitty is also a treat, walking the line between charming and bratty perfectly. The only one of the family that doesn’t make a huge impact is Margot, but that‘s probably because she was absent for most of the movie.

While the characters are great, the themes resonated quite a bit with me. Some of the stuff with Gen hit really close to home, though she’s far more of a manipulative viper than anyone I’ve gotten to know. But the parts involving Lara Jean stepping out of her fantasies to pursue a real relationship speaks volumes to me. I connect with that with both my creative works and my search for jobs. The temptation to stay in a perfect fantasy of what could happen instead of putting yourself out there and risk failing or getting hurt is very real and hopefully stories like this will help more people take that first scary step forward.

My only complaint is that this movie had way too many head-on shots where the characters were looking straight at the camera, but that’s more of a personal discomfort. In every other area, this movie excels due to its clever writing and talented people on board. If you subscribe to Netflix or have a friend that does, make seeing this a priority. You’ll thank yourself later.

Fun Tidbit: Jenny Han, the author of the original book, actually cameos in the film as a chaperone to a dance that Lara Jean and Lucas attend.

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