Netflix released their film version of Jenny Han's To All The Boys I've Loved Before on August 17 and it has taken the world by storm. If you haven't watched it, you've at least heard of it. From Instagram montages to cast interviews and everything in between, the movie has been an instant hit.
And for good reason, the film takes the best of the romantic comedy genre and puts it to light, and that's because of Han's incredible story. There are a few specifics though, of what makes the film truly stand out to me and so many others.
There's no life-changing make-over.
Lara Jean Song Covey is an incredibly relatable character to so many. She's a little odd. She's a middle child. She has a former best friend as a now popular frenemy. She has a messy room. She's never been in a serious relationship. She's a little too nervous about driving. So many girls can see a piece of themselves in Lara Jean, and that is a truly incredible thing. To be able to relate to someone is a gift. One of the great things about TATBILB is that there is no classic romantic comedy makeover. The book nor the movie change Lara Jean in any way, other than her growth as a person. She does not have to change to get the "hot" guy. She is enough just the way she is. She is beautiful, strong, funny, and so much more. She does not have to cut her hair or hide her glasses to make the boy magically fall in love with her. That's life. It's not magical makeovers and new wardrobes, it's learning to open up and so much more.
Different family units are portrayed.
The nuclear family is not at the front of the storyline. In a day and age where parental units are all so varying, it is refreshing to see that in films. Lara Jean has a deceased mother, a single father, and two sisters. Peter lives with his mother and little brother. Gen and Chris are cousins who cannot stand one another. Life is not picture perfect, and neither are families, whether their typical or not. Again being able to relate to something is a remarkable thing. Being able to find yourself in a movie gives you this indescribable connection. In the book, you get a look at the complicated family life of Josh as well. Being able to see a family like your own or like your best friends in a film or book gives it this realness.
The cast is diverse.
Lara Jean and the other Covey girls are half Korean. Seeing them, along with other characters such as Lucas, being portrayed correctly is an incredible thing. The actors are all perfect for their roles. As a young, white female, who has grown up watching romantic comedies, I can say that the majority of the films I've watched growing up are films where the main characters look like me. Watching a film where the cast is diverse and inclusive is just right. It is something that should have been happening for a much longer time, but that I am happy to see going on now. We have fabulous authors like Jenny Han to thank for that. We have the producers and writers who take chances on great ideas to thank for that.
It's a film we can all find something to love about.
To All The Boys I've Loved before is funny. It's light-hearted, yet it touches on some incredibly deep emotions that we all relate to. It's full of cute outfits and fun scrunchies. Dr. Covey is the dad we all want. Kitty's obsession with puppies is something we understand spiritually. Peter freaking Kavinsky is an absolute dreamboat. Lara Jean is us. It's just one of those films (and books) that speaks to so many people, and that's what makes it so special.