There’s a long list of iconic coming of age films: Mean Girls, 10 Things I Hate About You, Clueless and Easy A, to name but a few. Netflix’s new release To All The Boys I Loved Before is yet another that deserves to be added to that list.
Adapted from Jenny Han’s 2014 novel of the same name, it follows the romantic life of Lara Jean Song Covey (Lana Condor), a Korean-American teenager whose habit of writing long and intimate love letters to the boys she has fancied – and never sending them – comes back to haunt her with unexpected consequences when they end up getting sent. These boys include a guy from model UN, someone from a summer camp, her sister’s ex-boyfriend, a guy she danced with once, and the current boyfriend of Lara Jean’s worst enemy, Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo).
Lara Jean approaches the situation with no small amount of panic, fainting dramatically in front of Peter. But when they realise that a fake relationship would benefit the both of them, a contract is carefully handwritten and agreed on. But, of course, things never go as smoothly as planned. It is after all, a romcom.
There are so many beautiful elements to this film, not least the growing relationship between Peter and Lara Jean which unfolds slowly, with all the bumps and conflicts you’d find along the way. Lana Condor as LJ is incredible, achieving that perfect balance between the dramatic thoughts and ideas of a teenage without being over the top, and I really hope that this film provides a stepping stone for her to go on to greater things, she’s a really promising actress. The relationships she has with her family, Kitty (Anna Cathcart) her younger and more outgoing sister, her other sister Margot (Janel Parrish) and her dad Dan (John Corbett aka. Ian from My Big Fat Greek Wedding) are another great element as they all are still struggling with the loss of their mum and wife when the girls were younger. It’s also funny, with a special mention to Chris, Lara Jean’s best friend, played by Madeleine Arthur, whose interrogation of Dan over his choice to specialise in gynaecology is unexpected and brilliant and is indicative of the sense of humour of the film.
The film is gorgeously put together by director Susan Johnson, with shots that seem like they’ve been lifted from a Wes Anderson film. Delicate pastels and neon lights flood the screen, reinforcing the sense of romantic fantasy while still very much based being in the real world.
It’s also funny, with a special mention to Chris, Lara Jean’s best friend, played by Madeleine Arthur, whose interrogation of Dan over his choice to specialise in gynaecology is unexpected and brilliant and is indicative of the sense of humour of the film.
It’s hard to put into words how sweet the film is without going into gushing sentimentality but it really is a perfect and soft as it appears. If you’re feeling down, or lonely or just fancy something new to watch, check of To All The Boys I Loved Before. It’s fab.