When I saw "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" on Netflix I assumed it was like most of the teenage rom coms they had put out recently: probably cute and funny at times, but nothing memorable or with any real substance. However, after several friends recommended, I felt it was time to give it a shot. I was shocked, not only at how quickly this film grabbed my attention but at how good the film was overall. It set itself apart from teenage rom-com such as "Clueless," "The Kissing Booth," and "John Tucker Must Die" by not only providing insight to the high school experience today but providing the characters with depth that most other films in this genre lack.
1. The film actually followed the book.
At this point, I feel like it's more common for directors to change the plot of a film adapted from a novel than for them to keep it the same. It's kind of ridiculous when you think about it; they're taking something that is presumably already popular and altering it. This is where I really believe the film shines, for the most part, it sticks to the plot of the novel while also keeping the audience's attention.
2. It displays a genre of novel that is greatly underappreciated.
While YA novels have come to the forefront of the media in recent years with the creation of movies such as "The Hunger Games," I feel like the genre is still greatly under appreciated. This is a particularly good novel to demonstrate the versatility and potential of the young adult novels.
3. The casting was perfect and showcased the talent of lesser known actors.
It's always frustrating when companies ignore actors that fit the description of the characters in favor of big names used to draw in a crowd. I personally felt the cast was spot on with Lana Condor, Anna Cathcart, and Noah Centineo putting on particularly memorable performances.
4. It treated teenagers as actual humans with emotions instead of brainless, horny idiots.
I love how the characters in the movie accurately portrayed teenagers. Hollywood has the tendency to treat teenagers as either incredibly naïve or completely sex-driven. Look at any 2000s teen movies and you'll see what I'm talking about. It's refreshing to see teenagers portrayed as not only adults but human beings with feelings and emotions.
5. It strayed away from character stereotypes.
While I will admit Lara Jean's bad driving was a bit stereotypical, for the most part, the film dodged stereotypes. I loved that while Lara Jean was quiet, she wasn't portrayed in the same prudish manner that female protagonists are in similar movies. Additionally, Peter was an athlete, however, his character was given more of an identity than just being a popular jock.
6. It displayed a fairly healthy relationship instead of a toxic one.
While their relationship wasn't all smooth sailing, Lara Jean and Peter have a pretty healthy relationship built off a friendship. I think it's really great that a Netflix film displayed a healthy relationship after the toxic ones pictured in "The Kissing Booth" and "Insatiable."
7. It contained all the sappy lines of a rom-com yet somehow made them sweet.
There were so many lines in this movies that would make a rom-com fanatic squeal, yet somehow instead of coming off as incredibly sappy, they came off as sweet and genuine thanks in large part to the acting of Noah Centineo and direction of Susan Johnson.
8. The soundtrack was fire.
This soundtrack was everything beautiful and hipstery that you would expect from a film set in Portland. While most people probably haven't heard of the music used in the film, they will surely have it stuck in their head after watching this film.
9. The film really illustrated what high school is like.
The film-accurate portrayed all the pitfalls of high school as well as the role that social media now plays in the teenage life. Whether it's dealing with the particular brand of cruelty and jealousy dealt by Genevie, trying to survive the school ski trip, or dealing with a social media scandal, this film has everything a teenager has to deal with in high school nowadays.