“To All Boys I’ve Loved Before” was aired on Netflix August 17 2018 and gained immediate praise across the world. I however find it to be another average entry into the teen romance genre.
The story focuses on a girl named Lara Jean Covey who wrote five letters to her five crushes; Josh, her sisters boyfriend, Peter, her first kiss before high school, Kenny, from summer camp, Lucas from homecoming, and John-Ambrose, from model UN. Lara Jean wrote these letters in secret for the crushes that were so intense, she had to write about her emotions so that she would know how it feels to be in love. Shortly after this explanation, Lara Jean’s letters were sent to all the boys addresses and chaos ensues. Kind of.
Lets start with the good.
The story is one of the most confusing parts of this movie. Even though the book has high praise, at moments it feels like a spur of nonsense and confusion. The movie frantically changes the stakes, making it frustrating. Is Lara Jean’s problem being unable to love or put herself out of her social bubble because of her mothers death years ago. Is Gen the villain because of her previous best friend’s betrayal for kissing her elementary school crush or is she just the villain ex girlfriend? I couldn’t tell because there were so many things going on at once.
The characters were averagely written and had some what of a reason for why they should be in the story. One of the characters that really stood out in the story was Josh. Josh was one of the only characters with a backstory that was very well written and explained. As in Lara Jean’s perspective they started as best friends, then their relationship was viewed as slowly drifting apart because of Lara’s sister, Margot dating him. This was one of the features in the story that accentuate that these characters have flaws like other people in high school. Even after that Peter was a very strong character that cared for the well-being of Lara even when it came to yelling and asking very forceful questions.
A well executed element of the movie is the cinematography. The movie was aesthetically appealing when it came to the different shots and views in the movie. Head of Cinematography Micheal Fimognari created astounding shots. With this movie the plot transitions connect perfectly with the tone of the movie. An example of this is the ski trip, as we see people loading onto the bus and then leaving the shot shifts dramatically from inside the bus to a shot of the bus heading to the ski resort.
So in the end, with a sort of okay story, random story lines, averagely written characters, and well executed cinematography. I think that To All The boys I’ve Loved before is an average at best entry in the the teen romance genre.