The Fangirl’s Movie Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

The Fangirls had a viewing party and checked out the latest rom-com to appear on Netflix.  Not only was it adorable, but it starred an Asian heroine.  You have to love it when your Asian addiction starts becoming mainstream.  Come find out our thoughts on To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

WARNING: While we won’t be throwing in a ton of spoilers, we will talk about specifics in this review, so read at your own risk.

Trailer:

Synopsis: Lara Jean’s junior year isn’t starting out too well. Her oldest sister moved to Scotland for school, her little sister wears a helmet in the car when Lara Jean drives, and her Dad is completely clueless about raising girls. Lara Jeans’s room is her sanctuary, her place to relax and read romance novels. It’s also where she hides all the letters she’s written to every crush she’s ever had, not like she’d send them out of course. Except, one day, those letters really are mailed out. Suddenly, Lara Jean has to step outside of her safe little world and decide if she will do more than just stay safe in her room writing letters she will never send.

THE PLOT:

Clkytta: Ok, I am a huge romantic comedy fan. I adored all the coming of age rom-coms of the 90s and early 2000s.  So, of course, I loved this movie. The characters were well written, even the hateful ex-BFF. They did a really good job of realistically portraying Lara Jean’s hopes and fears. I liked that they used letters though, it made the shock when she saw the letters in the boys’ hands even more real. I mean come on, who sends real letters anymore?

Karie the Maknae: I’m with Clkytta–I loved the early 2000s rom-coms, and To All the Boys I Have Loved definitely fit in that genre perfectly. My inner lit snob wants to come out to play, but I beat her with the “embrace the formula” stick and she remembered why we watch rom-coms in the first place–for the feeeeeels!

Kmuse: The lack of new rom-coms in western film and television is the main reason I started watching kdramas. Which means I am thrilled to see the reemergence of the genre. This movie was so enjoyable. The characters were so memorable and it made me care about their romance’s progression. The only change I would make is to have a bit more of the story while they are in school. The months passed by so fast I was left wanting more.

Drama Geek: I agree that the lack of good rom-coms meant that I mostly viewed super hero movies, but I am glad that several fun ones have come out. I found the characters enjoyable, the focus of the sisters a true delight, and the romance was perfectly sweet.

CINEMATOGRAPHY:

Karie the Maknae: Most of the cinematography was fairly standard, except for in Lara Jean’s room. Her walls were absolute works of art and I want something similar for my own room! It felt like a completely separate space in the movie–a good way to separate what’s happening in Lara Jean’s head versus what she encounters in the real world.

Kmuse: While the cinematography was standard the set design and stylists were AMAZING.  The way they popped the yellow and blue color pallets through the whole show made me want to repaint my house.  I’m sure my husband would totally understand why I suddenly need to change everything to get this specific aesthetic.

Drama Greek: I felt the cinematography was strategic. It called back to a lot of the 80s coming of age movies that were referenced by the characters. It had great frames and character focused shots, highlighted by the color pallette that was used. I dug it.

CHARACTER OBSERVATIONS:

Clkytta: Peter- While we were watching this movie, I said, “I love him”, about a million times about Peter. He was a complex character, and I liked seeing his layers. I think the scene where he picks up Lara Jean and Kitty for school really shows how nice of a guy he is. He wins over Kitty just by being himself and I loved that.  I actually liked him so much that I would love to read this story from his point of view.

Karie the Maknae: The dialogue in this movie was far from polished, which added to the realistic aspect of it. I liked our MCs–Lara Jean’s confidence in spite of her darkest secrets being revealed made me cheer, and like Clkytta, I loved Peter. He was more down-to-earth than you’d expect the jock of a rom-com to be, and I really liked the added depth the writer explored as he and Lara Jean related over their broken families.

Kmuse: I was expecting this story to be about Lara Jean and the neighbor boy. So imagine my surprise when Peter started showing up as the leading man.  A fact that I was all on board for by the time he suggested a contract relationship.  Contract relationships are one of my all-time favorite drama tropes.  I also want to point out how great the sister relationship is in this movie.  I totally loved watching the sisters hang out and watch Golden Girls together.

Drama Geek: I was also surprised when Peter kept showing up and the next door neighbor fell into the background. He was a likeable popular guy who seemed down to earth pretty fast. (BTW, the actor who plays him has been popping up all over my Twitter and YouTube feed. He seems to be everywhere right now.) I LOVED the sister relationship and want to read the series to see more of them together.

FAVORITE SCENE:

Clkytta: Hands down, my favorite scene is when she knocks him to the ground on the track and kisses him. You could see she was more afraid of facing Josh than dealing with the aftermath of kissing Peter. She’s in flight or fight mode and she decides to go for the kiss and distract everyone. I felt like the directing on that scene was spot on. It was also the moment where I decided who I wanted her to be with.

Karie the Maknae: I loved the confessional in Peter’s kitchen when Lara Jean and Peter were real with each other and discovered that they knew where the other was coming from. And I loved that Peter got past Lara Jean’s constant “It’s okay, it’s fine” refrain. Also, pretty much every scene with Lara Jean’s little sister made me laugh. (I couldn’t just choose one scene!)

Kmuse: I second both of those moments.  Her kissing Peter on the track was such an unexpected scene.  Loved it!

Drama Geek: I really liked the scene where they hammer out the contract. You can already tell he’s got it bad for her. Plus, like Kmuse, contract relationships are one of my drama trope favs.

OVERALL REACTION:

Clkytta: I’d give this a 9/10. I really enjoyed it and I’ll watch it again. It got me to buy the book too. I laughed a lot while watching this and I love when movies make me laugh.

Karie the Maknae: Mmmm, 8/10. It was enjoyable, but needed a little kick of something more in the dialogue to feel more polished and put together–I was definitely getting indie flick vibes. That aside, this was warm and funny and definitely a feel-good film. (Gentle Viewer Alert–there was some language, in the PG-13 range, and one steamy kiss.)

Kmuse: So much fun.  I also would give this a 9/10.  I enjoyed it so much that during the middle of the movie I whipped out my tablet and bought all 3 of the novels.  I need more Peter and Laura Jean.  For anyone interested in also purchasing the books I will throw up the links at the end of the post.

Drama Geek: I am going to give it a 10/10. It is very hard to find a good rom-com these days. This one is that perfect feel good movie where you want to just snuggle in your jammies and eat popcorn and smile like an idiot while it plays. It also has an Asian lead and the movie has nothing to do with that at all. She’s just a girl who falls in love. (I saw an interview where the author had to explain to several producers why Laura Jean shouldn’t be cast with a white actress.) I’m very big on supporting better representation in books, movies, and film. And again, it was just a lot of fun.

Til our next movie adventure,

The Fangirls

Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

To All The Boys I Loved Before Trilogy by Jenny Han Links

To All The Boys I Love Before (Book 1)

P.S. I Still Love You (Book 2)

Always And Forever, Lara Jean (Book 3)

(Disclosure: These are affiliate links. Thanks for using them to support us!)

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7 thoughts on “The Fangirl’s Movie Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

  1. I also left North American cinema because of the dearth of rom-coms (although in my opinion, Taiwan has the classic formula down better than Korea. It’s just the pacing, Taiwan, the pacing! But I digress….)

    I was wondering whether to give this movie a try, so thanks for the review. I’ve got it on my mental list for a day I need something snuggly and fun, and am not up for a whole drama! 😀

  2. This movie made my cliche rom-com loving inner teenager very happy. It also thrilled the part of me that adores Jane Austen that letters were used to communicate feelings and thoughts just like back in her day. Personally I wanted to know what each and every one if Peter’s notes said. Two thumbs up from me .

    • Isn’t it so refreshing to see a story like this? As an Austen fan myself, I also loved seeing how letters and notes were used to keep the momentum going. I wish we had been given a glimpse of the notes, but at least she read some of them.

  3. I caught it on Netflix and loved it! Lara Jean is so charming and I rooted for her happiness. Little Sis was adorable. I’ve missed rom-coms and it’s nice to see them making their way back to American tv. Keep up the good work Netflix!

  4. This movie made my cliche rom-com loving heart happy. It also thrilled my Jane Austen fangirl by using her favorite means of conveying feelings and thoughts: letters. Just the idea of someone taking the time to actually write things down seems romantic. I personally wanted to know what each of Peter’s notes said.

  5. It was cute and funny movie, I would fix the pacing a bit and I honestly i would like to see more of the Peter’s side of the story. And more of then just having hanging out and having everyday interactions.

  6. Looking at the plot points of the storyline, it’s totally a K-drama (though the American version lacks the innocence that I appreciate so much from Korea). I started watching this movie and was thinking of not finishing when all of a sudden the focus shifted to Peter. This guy was such a great mix of sweet and tangy that he just hooked me. And when they pulled out the contract relationship, you know I was in!

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