Rom-coms have a reputation in the film world, for being a lower art form. Not as thoughtful and provoking as other genres, relying on tired tropes and poor characterization to create a movie.
Some rom-cons certainly fall prey to this and turn-out, less than stellar films. In recent years it seems as though studios have turned away from rom-coms in favor of prestige Oscar bait films or an always reliable franchise.
Teen rom-coms were a staple of the 90s and early 2000s. "Drive Me Crazy," "10 Things I Hate About You," anything with Amanda Bynes. In 2018 the film industry is seeing a resurgence in rom-coms thanks to Netflix. With "Set it Up," the soon to be released "Sierra Burgess is a Loser," and most recently "To All the Boys I've Loved Before."
The film based off the book series by Jenny Han centers around Lara Jean Covey (an excellent Lana Condor), a junior in high school, with a love of romance novels, but fear of relationships. She writes letters to boys she has crushes on, over the years writing five and storing them in her bedroom. Eventually, at the hands of her younger sister, the letters are sent out, including one to her older sister's, Margot (Janel Parrish), ex-boyfriend, Josh. Another is sent to her seventh-grade crush, Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo). Peter proposes he and Lara Jean pretend to date so he can make his ex-girlfriend jealous and Lara Jean can keep Josh from discovering her true feelings. Over the course of the film, hijinks ensue and ends with Lara Jean and Peter together.
Rom-coms of the last few years, pride themselves on being unconventional. Subverting expectations, or commenting on genre somehow. To All the Boys I've Loved Before, sees no need to do that. It simply has a good premise and a likable cast. The movie's love of rom-coms is embedded into the script's DNA. The film isn't apologizing for being a rom-com, it loves rom-coms as much as the viewer.