Movie review: “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”

Reminders before we start:
1. SPOILERS!!! Massive SPOILERS for Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before!!!
2. I haven’t read the book (just the brief synopis on Wikipedia) so there won’t be any comparisons to the book.
3. I love romcoms in general so this review may be a teensy bit biased.

And so here we go:

Netflix’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, based on the YA novel of the same name by Jenny Han, is freaking FANTASTIC. I say this as someone who loves the genre and therefore has probably watched more romcoms than is probably recommended or healthy.

What makes it so good? Let me count the ways.

1. It executes romantic tropes perfectly.
There are no surprises here – whether you’ve read the book or not, you know how this ends – but what To All The Boys does is execute the classic fake dating trope with heart and love, making it a refreshing dose of happiness and fluff.

2. The leads have crazy chemistry.
Lana Condor and Noah Centineo just sell the hell out of it. They play off each other so well that even though you know that they’re just acting, you want to gush and smoosh them together.

Oh, and Lara Jean’s phone lock-screen photo of the two of them cuddling on the couch?

That was Lana and Noah sleeping in the green room, not Lara Jean and Peter.

3. Genuine character growth for our heroine.
We see Lara Jean come out of her shell and finally opening herself up to the world. She didn’t change anything fundamental about herself for people to appreciate her – more like people finally saw how awesome she already was. Basically everything her dad said near the end of the movie.

4. The leading man is a sincerely good guy.
Sure, Peter Kavinsky is hot as heck, the king of the cafeteria crowd, and a star athlete, but those things aren’t his most appealing features. At his core, Peter Kavinsky is a good guy who loves with everything that he has – even people who don’t deserve it *cough*Gen*cough*. He could have been an asshole about the letter but instead, he deliberately tried to soften the rejection as best as he could. He admires Lara Jean for standing up to Gen. He pushes Lara Jean’s boundaries but respects them as well. He’s a great listener and makes an effort to fit into her life.

5. Lara Jean and Peter are on equal footing in this fake relationship.
While some of my favorite romcoms involve fake dating (see: She’s All That and 10 Things I Hate About You), those ones are based on the first person tricking the second person into dating them. While they both eventually fall in love with the other, there’s an undercurrent of betrayal that makes me sad.

Not so in To All The Boys. Lara Jean and Peter both know what they’re getting into and they both benefit from the arrangement. They’re equal partners in this, which means that any blossoming feelings are based on trust and getting to know the other person.

6. The soundtrack is AMAZING.
I absolutely, positively LOVE the soundtrack. Each song is a gem that supports the scene perfectly, giving it that extra oomph to move it from “great” to “magical”. The soundtrack as a whole feels dreamy and floaty. My personal favorites:

Lovers by Anna of the North – the hot tub scene. Yes, the hot tub scene. It was sexy and emotional at the same time,

You told me I would never see you walk away
Said you’d never break my heart
Never leave me in the dark
I guess there’s just some promises you shouldn’t make
Should’ve known from the start
Now I’m in the dark
Show a little loving
Shine a little light on me
Show a little loving
Shine a little light on me
Show a little loving
Shine a little light on me
Show a little loving

I Like Me Better by Lauv – This song encompasses Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship. They each are better people because of the other.

I like me better when I’m with you
I like me better when I’m with you
I knew from the first time, I’d stay for a long time cause
I like me better when I’m with you

You can find out more about the songs here.

How about you? How did you find To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before? Loved it? Hated? Let me know!

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