Here's The Tea: 'To All The Boys I've Loved Before' Blows 'The Kissing Booth' Out Of The Water

Here's The Tea: 'To All The Boys I've Loved Before' Blows 'The Kissing Booth' Out Of The Water

Peter Kavinsky has deep intimate moments, funny lines, and is a woke high school jock. Noah Flynn is controlling, has some anger issues, and a tendency to yell more than talk. Take your pick.

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Netflix has really been stepping up their game recently. This new era of coming of age teenage rom-coms are great. Most of them, that is. When "The Kissing Booth" first came out, it blew up on the internet. So, naturally, I hopped on the bandwagon and decided to watch it. It is not a great movie. Like... at all. I didn't understand.

Flash forward a few months, and Twitter is going crazy about another teen romance movie based off of a book. "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" popped up on my Netflix. Again, I hopped on the bandwagon. May I just say, THIS. MOVIE. DESERVES. THE. HYPE.

Here are a few reasons why "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" is better than "The Kissing Booth."

1. The main love interest isn't problematic

The biggest difference between Noah Flynn from "The Kissing Booth" and Peter Kavinsky from "TATBILB" is the way they treat the girls they like.

From the beginning of the film, Flynn belittles Elle Evans, controls what she does and what she wears and goes behind her best friend, his brother's, back in order to see her. TOXIC.

Peter Kavinsky falls for Lara Jean Covey when they fake date. He watches her favorite movies with her, asks her about her life, makes an effort to be involved with her family and validates her and listens to her. He uplifts her instead of tearing her down.

2. "The Kissing Booth" objectifies girls  

One of the first things I noticed about "The Kissing Booth" was how much it talked about Elle's body in an odd way. There's an entire exchange of dialogue about how she "got boobs" over the summer, and then the entire male population at the school cat calls her when she arrives back to school on the first day. It's telling girls that it's normal to have their bodies ogled by guys.

There's a scene in "TATBILB" when Lara Jean is upset about being made fun of at school after a video of her goes viral. In the video, her and Peter are in a hot tub and everyone thinks the two had sex, even though the two only kissed. Peter immediately shuts its the rumor down in front of everyone. Not because Lara can't defend herself, but because she essentially asks him to. The video gets taken down after Lara Jean's sister reports it. It's solved realistically and it isn't a main focal point in Lara Jean's character development.

3. "The Kissing Booth" is also pretty sexist

In the movie, Elle gets a drunk at a party and has to be taken care of by Noah Flynn. The cliche story-line of the big strong guy coming to the rescue is OLD. She also wakes up in his bed wearing his shirt with no recollection of what happened (nothing, but still).

4. The way the two movies approach sibling relationships 

"TATBILB" is filled with funny and heartfelt moments between three sisters. The eldest, Margo, is headed off to college out of the country. Lara Jean, the middle child, struggles with talking to her sister when she's gone. There is a very emotional scene towards the end of the film with the three sisters about how there aren't going to be any secrets between them. Kitty, the youngest sister, is plucky and witty, and also is the reason Lara Jean reconnects with Peter. I won't spoil too much, though. Just watch the film if you want these three sisters to make you laugh and cry.

"The Kissing Booth's" Flynn brothers compete with each other constantly, which siblings do. They do not, however, compete to have control over a girl. The brothers are both so hateful towards each other and their relationship is just not healthy.

5. Three words: female character development

Lara Jean Covey goes from a shy hopeless romantic who lives vicariously through characters in books to falling in love and facing her fear of people leaving. Her mother passed away when she was young and she opens up to Peter about how she is afraid to let people in because they can just leave. Throughout the film, as she hangs out with this guy, she begins to get more sure of herself. She is happier because she stopped being afraid.

Elle Evans is best friends with Lee Flynn, Noah's little brother. A lot of her characterization is super forced. She goes from this fun loving girl who dances with her friend in an arcade to a "party girl" to someone in detention to rebel. The whole plot is all over the place.

6. And three more words: male character development 

Noah Flynn doesn't change a ton throughout the course of the film. He starts to open up to Elle and work through things with her, but he continues to be angsty and angry. Again, TOXIC.

Peter Kavinsky initially wants to get back with his ex. Until he starts to fall for Lara Jean. He does things he knows will make her happy. She thinks it's just him faking it. He opens up to her about how his dad left his family. He feels more comfortable being himself. The two make each other better.

7. Minority representation 

The Covey family is an Asian-American family. Lara Jean Covey is played by an Asian American actress. Being able to see someone who looks like you on the big screen is so important.

Lucas James is also another important character. He is one of the boys Lara Jean has "loved." He is African-American and, as Lara Jean discovers, is also gay. The two establish a friendship and I love their scenes together. Again, representation matters and this movie is taking a step in the right direction.

If you haven't seen "The Kissing Booth" you are not missing much. If you haven't seen "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" on the other hand, you need to get on it ASAP. It is a movie about being young and in love. It's a story of a girl coming out of her shell and also a beautiful picture of what it means to be true to yourself with someone else. It's funny and real and the characters are lovable and unique.

Oh, and you'll also for sure fall in love with Peter Kavinsky. That I can promise you.

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Thank You For Your Input, But I Will Still Be Wearing My Wedding Dress

Spread love and not lies, judgement, or hate.
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I am the author of the controversial “wedding dress” article, and trust me, I have learned a lot. I am sitting here trying to write something that will not be misconstrued.

As I do, my mind flashes with comments and tweets from all over the world. It was a wave of negativity and personal attacks. I have received over one thousand messages telling me to either kill myself or that I belong in a psych ward. I had people attacking my friends and family members as well over an article about relationships. Seriously?

I have gone from crushed, to angry, to strong from the backlash of my previous article. Among the negativity, there were also waves of people who messaged me thanking me for writing what I did. Most have said that they have felt jealous and I encouraged them to look towards the future.

They understood what I was trying to convey. Many people have asked me why I would not take the article down, and these positive messages are the people who kept me from doing that. If I showed that I was ashamed of the feelings the article conveyed, then I felt as though I would be showing them that they should be ashamed as well. They should not, and I hope that they know this.

As for the content of my past article, I understand that it did not tell the entire story. I do not write for the New York Times or The Washington Post. I sat down in my bed after waking up from a nap, and I had 20 minutes to write an article that met a deadline. We have all turned in a procrastinated task or assignment. That’s what this was.

I thought about a conversation with friends. They mentioned that they wished they could have been there for their fiancés and husbands longer. One jokingly said that she wished she could have been there for her husband’s prom because ours sucked. It is currently prom season, and I am getting married shortly. Congratulations, you have the article. It was not from my point of view. It is a conglomeration of feelings that had been expressed to me through conversation. I stated at the end that you can look forward to the rest of your life with them now. That was my advice to my friends.

I commonly write theoretically, not literally. My audience knows that. This was not an article that was meant to be widespread and clearly known by everyone in the world. Yes, that happened, but we have communities in Odyssey. Mine are intended for my personal community. Odyssey articles are also not meant to tell an entire story. We have guidelines, word counts, and we aren’t usually meant to write an entire story in one article.

That article had nothing to do with anyone in either my or my fiancé’s life. However, even if it was, you do not know what has happened to me nor my fiancé. Maybe he was emotionally abused, cheated on, or treated very poorly. No, I did not contextualize his past in the article because it is not about a specific person, nor do I willingly “throw shade” at another person online. You can see an honest article from me regarding my past “relationships,” but many people seem to find it funny that I spoke out about being raped.

I was misunderstood, and the internet showed a disgusting face. I highly doubt you have never been misunderstood, and imagine people saying such horrible things all because they took something the wrong way. Again, I am not a writer for a huge publication. We have different guidelines here, and I do not write things like this literally. Yes, as many people have also attacked me for, I have other articles about relationships. Our editors suggest article ideas for our weekly writings, and some of those are from a list of headlines that I thought I might know about even in the slightest.

Everything is not always as it seems on the internet. After the disgusting things I have seen from people, I have a whole new perspective on the world. Many people were attacking me for my Christian faith after digging into my life when they read something they didn’t agree with. The Devil had a firm grasp on this backlash, and it really shows by the completely random attacks on my faith. Through all of this, my faith is stronger. Through all of this, my relationship is stronger.

I do not care who he went to prom with. Do I wish I could have had more time with my fiancé? Of course. Wouldn’t you? It has nothing to do with who had him. It has to do with me getting to love him longer and maybe saving him from heartache and hurt that people put him through. Would you not want to save a loved one from hurt if you could? I am not jealous of one person whatsoever. I simply wish that I could have loved him longer.

The “wedding dress” article, whose title I did not finalize, was an analogy for feelings young couples may experience. If you did not get that from the content, then move on. Next time you see something you do not agree with and it is not hurting anyone, I am asking you to move on. Do not treat anyone the way that I have been treated. I am far from what the internet has painted me to be like. However, I am sure many celebrities are not what the internet says either. It is a place of skewed ideas and judgmental opinions.

Despite the messages to my fiancé telling him to run, he also knows that I am nothing like what people tried to portray me to be. We both look forward to the future and point out all of the amazing things that will come. I support his hope for a future career and cannot wait for what is to come. I am not a “jealous psychopath.” I am not going to go “kill myself” like many people tried to suggest. But you know what? The next person that receives a message to kill themselves just might.

As a result of this whole situation, I have chosen to make a donation to a cyberbullying foundation that helps educate people on cyberbullying while also supplying comfort for those who are victims. It is a foundation that helps prevent self-harm and suicide that is the result of cyberbullying. The foundation is called CyberSmile, and I encourage you to learn about them.

I hope that you keep your mind open when reading things about people on the internet. I was judged so harshly for something so small. It can happen to anyone, and it can be more than some people can handle. Think before you type. Your words have consequences. You are not an anonymous person hiding behind a screen. Some of the fake accounts that were made to attack me, I know who they are. I will never be able to forget these comments about me. No matter how WRONG people were about me, these words will continue to hurt me.

My heart hurts for the next innocent person who gets attacked for publishing an emotional piece of work. There are people who would not be alive right now after what happened. You can call that dramatic or whatever you want, but it is true. People can have different opinions and still be civil to each other.

Next time you may think about saying something harsh to someone, think about saying it to your loved one. Think about the person that will see it. Put yourself in their shoes. Never judge someone for something small like a piece of writing. Don’t judge people period. We all have different opinions, appearances, beliefs, and many other things. That is what makes the world beautiful. If people spent as much time spreading love as they did spreading lies and hate about me and other people, the world would be a much better place.

Send love to people who may need it. Love your neighbor. Treat others with respect. Be a light in another person’s life.

Do not feed into the negativity and think twice about what you see or read. I am getting married to the love of my life in a few weeks. This situation has made me realize how lucky I am to have an extremely supportive man by my side. I cannot wait for our future together, and this has made us even stronger.

Love people, and keep moving forward.

With love,

Victoria Higgins

Cover Image Credit: Courtney Beth

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'Shrill' Is A Giant Middle Finger To Unhealthy Body Image, Sexuality, And More

Aidy Bryant kicks off the pilot episode of her new show on Hulu with a bat of her eyelashes and middle finger to negative social standards.

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When I was scrolling through Facebook the other day looking for content to write about at work, I stumbled across a post about a new comedy show on Hulu called "Shrill." I didn't know much about it other than that it stars Aidy Bryant, who I love, and immediately put it on my radar.

As a quick premise, if you don't know who Aidy is, she stars on Saturday Night Live and is one of the most nonchalantly hilarious women in comedy. She's known for her effortless way in sliding in jokes under her breath and for being a downright awesome advocate for women. Tie that all together, and I knew the show would be iconic.

The start of the pilot episode gives you a warm feeling, almost a sense of familiarity. It has that same "this premise is going to be about women who live their lives for themselves," much to how I felt watching "Broad City" and "Girls." With the latter already ended and the former coming to its close, I was hoping a new show would come out, and "Shrill" seems to already be hitting more nails on the head.

Spoiler alerts ahead.

In the first episode, we see Aidy take on topics that are heavy, controversial and very transparent in nature.

First and foremost, she talks about her body image issues and how it plays a role in her relationships. Because of her plus-sized figure, she explained how she always used it to scrutinize every aspect of her life. How because she was always bigger, she felt the need to prove herself in other ways, like being constantly kind, giving and nice to everyone around her. Don't get me wrong, these are great attributes to have, but she realized that by constantly making sure everyone around her was happy, she lost herself in the process.

She stopped standing up for herself out of fear of creating a wake for other people. She stopped demanding more for her worth and settled for what could be good. And she stopped seeing herself as a person worthy of anything real outside of her weight. Her body constantly played a role in her choices and became shackles holding her down from making true actions throughout her life.

We see her ask for a job promotion and get humiliated in the process. It's not till the end of the episode when she realizes her worth that she begins to fight for herself, her goals and her future.

In the midst of it all is a man who she sleeps with and clearly wants more from him. She felt that because she had a man want her, she needed to do everything in her power to keep him around, which included allowing him to have sex with her without protection. In the process, she didn't realize that Plan B pills aren't applicable to anyone over 175 lbs and got pregnant as a result of it.

What a brave woman that Aidy Bryant is. Because also in this first episode, her character has an abortion as a way of claiming her truth and womanhood. She made a decision to terminate her pregnancy, and in this day and age of politics, that will absolutely come with its fair share of backlash.

But instead of the abortion being clueless, haste or uneducated, she shares the experience from an authentic perspective. She talks about claiming back her life and how she didn't have the procedure for anyone other than herself.

I can already hear pro-life advocates screaming at their TVs calling her selfish and inconsiderate of the baby, but what's impressive to me is that Aidy didn't care to go into more detail. In the show, she didn't feel the need to plead her case. She simply said it was for herself, and left it at that. With an understanding friend and supportive family, she knew it was all she needed to get through. I'm sure women everywhere felt the depth of this answer or lack thereof.

Without spoiling too much, we see her come to terms with tormentors in her life: her weight, the lack of respect from the man she sleeps with and the absurdity of the woman/trainer who pushes the narrative that in order to be a respectable human Aidy must lose weight.

It was a standard pilot episode in the archetypical timeline of it all: Woman has issues; woman has major life lesson; woman changes her perspective and the show kicks off to really begin in episode two. Although I've seen this plotline before, the actual content this one carries has me drawn in and eager to watch more. I'm curious to know what other hard-hitting topics the show will introduce in its 6 episodes, and I plan on writing a season recap/reaction to it all in the end.

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