Movie Review: “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”

BY NAZLI ISLAM

We are currently living in a rom-com renaissance, a resurgence of the beloved old genre. Netflix has played no small part in this rebirth, releasing many new romantic-comedies and the ones released this summer received a large amount of attention. The movie that has arguably garnered the most attention is “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.”

Watching the movie for myself, I found it to be an enjoyable, but average rom-com.

The movie stars Lana Condor and Noah Centineo as the leads, Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky. By far, the highlight of the movie is Lana Condor and her portrayal of Lara Jean. Not only can you relate to Lara Jean, full of life and personality, but you always want to root for her, a rarity among rom-coms. The movie also stars a woman of color in a leading role and acknowledges that fact, even allowing it to play a role in the story—something rare and almost never achieved by other movies as a whole.

The entire movie is also gorgeous, a 100-minute visual masterpiece. Between vibrant colors in each shot, an amazing set design and Lara Jean’s personal style and outfits, the watchers’ eyes can feast on the sights while their hearts enjoy the story.

As a rom-com, it balances romance and comedy well, not giving too much weight to one or the other, making us laugh as much as it tugs on our heartstrings.

Unfortunately, no movie can be perfect. My problems with the movie don’t stem from the formulaic nature of the rom-com. Nor do my issues revolve around the one-dimensional portrayal of high school and the side characters, who come off more as tropes than real human beings.

No, my main concern is the central romance. Somehow, by the end of the movie, I am not as invested in the relationship between Lara Jean and Peter. I was obviously happy at their (spoiler alert!) finally getting together for real, but it wasn’t the palpable relief that I feel from a story that truly has me invested. Maybe this lack of excitement is because they show us three months’ worth of the story in snapshots that we don’t fully get to see, or because I found Centineo’s character to be underwhelming after the over-hyping of Peter I heard before seeing the film.

Overall, though, I would recommend this movie to anyone with a Netflix account, an hour and a half to spare, and/or an intense love of rom-coms. I don’t regret watching it, but I don’t imagine I’ll find myself desperately wanting to re-watch it anytime in the future.

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