I love romcoms. Although they often require some suspension of disbelief, they typically feel realistic enough that it’s easy to imagine yourself in the same situation as the romantic lead — a connection that is less likely to happen with other genres. Critics tend to call them “formulaic” or “cliche”: there’s a meet-cute moment, “will-they-won’t-they” moments that add to the tension, an inevitable conflict, and the sweet payoff when the characters finally end up together. For me, that formula is why I love romcoms so much: I’ve always wanted my own meet-cute (now that I commute to work every day on the train, I’m fully expecting a cute boy to strike up a conversation, help me with my bags, etc.) and the fact that the couple is almost guaranteed to end up together means that the stakes are never that high, allowing me to maintain hope and levity even in the movie’s more tense moments. They make wonderful comfort films – something I crave after how hectic things have been in the last couple of months.
It’s no surprise, then, that I was ridiculously excited to watch To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: I enjoyed the book that it was adapted from, and when executed correctly, fake dating is one of my favourite tropes. On the day it came out, I baked a huge batch of chocolate chip cookies, brewed a pot of my favourite blueberry tea, and settled in to give it a watch — something that has since become a ritual of sorts, given the number of times I’ve already re-watched To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (4 and counting).
I could easily write an essay on why To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was the perfect rom-com.. but here are just a few reasons that I loved it:
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before reminds me of a Wes Anderson movie which is high praise, given that he’s one of my favourite directors.
The set design was both aspirational and realistic: though a part of me knew that I probably couldn’t afford to replicate Lara Jean’s room, its artfully messy layout, piles of clothes on the floor, and heavily decorated walls were definitely reminiscent of how my room looked as a teenager (my clothes pile has since moved to a chair, which is a step up from the floor? #adulting).
Lara Jean Song Covey
Lara Jean is a girl after my own heart: she loves reading about romance and watching romantic comedies, but finds the idea of living out one of those scenarios terrifying. I loved watching her grow more confident in herself over the course of the movie. And can we talk about how amazing her outfit choices were? I need Lara Jean to be my personal shopper since her style is a million times better than mine was when I was her age (I like to think that I’ve since acquired a sense of style).
Close-Knit Family Relationships
The Song sisters are what I’ve always imagined sibling relationships to be like: while they do argue, they’re fiercely loyal and protective of one another. Dr Covey is also present and actively involved in his daughters’ lives – though Lara Jean might argue that he’s too actively involved after his talk on safe sex.
The Depiction of Grief
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before managed to balance the lighthearted romance with important discussions on grief and loss. From Lara Jean and her dad reminiscing about how her mom liked to dance at the diner to Margot’s insistence on taking her advice about going to college without a boyfriend, it perfectly captures what it’s like to have lost someone close to you and how those memories can sneak up on you.
Like seemingly everyone else on Twitter, Peter Kavinsky whoa-whoa-whoa’d his way into my heart. He’s the kind of boy I’d want everyone to date: he’s kind, considerate, attentive, and goes out of his way to do small-yet-special things for Lara Jean (like driving across town to buy Yakult) without being asked. He’s not afraid to have deeply personal conversations and is respectful of the boundaries set by Lara Jean.
What did you think of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? (If you haven’t watched it yet, please cancel all previous obligations until you have finally watched the beauty that is this film.)