The new Netflix movie, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” has received outstanding reviews from critics worldwide. Released on Aug. 17, the film stars Lana Condor as main character Lara Jean, and follows her on the journey she undertakes in an attempt to reconstruct her life after her secret love letters are mysteriously mailed out to all the boys she has ever had a crush on.
Peter Kavinsky, played by Noah Centineo, is the most popular boy in school – and also happens to be one of Lara’s former crushes. Peter’s long-time girlfriend, Genevive, had just dumped him for a university student when he receives a love letter from Lara. Hoping to make Genevieve jealous and win her back, Peter agrees to fake-date Lara, who consents to this arrangement in hopes of hiding her feelings for Josh, her actual crush, who, unfortunately, also receives a letter from her.
Fully aware of each other’s motives in agreeing to the fake relationship, Peter and Lara fool the entire school into thinking that they are dating. As time passes, however, the two develop a comfortable friendship that eventually leads to real feelings for each other. Afraid that the other might only view their relationship as temporary and superficial, Lara and Peter hesitate to voice their feelings for each other.
In addition to romance, this movie also depicts the growing maturity of the protagonist. Throughout the course of the story, Lara learns how to express her own opinions and value her choices. By the end of the movie, she changes from the malleable character she was at the beginning into a strong-minded and determined girl.
The fact that Lara is half-Korean and half-Caucasian further adds to the novelty of the movie. Throughout the history of film production, only a startling minority of movies has starred Asian American women; in fact, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” is one of the first films to feature a female Asian American as a lead actor since the release of “The Joy Luck Club” in 1993. Many have praised the film for this multicultural aspect and anticipate that more opportunities for Asian actors could be created as a result of this movie’s success.
“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” gives a comical yet accurate documentation of the real-life struggles that an introverted girl faces while learning how to climb out of her shell and into the world. In addition, it also depicts the personality changes Lara goes through in the process of opening up to and accepting the people around her. With just the right mix of cliché cheesiness and adorable craziness, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” is a masterpiece that is definitely worth watching.