To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before review



Based on the best selling novel by Jenny Han, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” is a coming-of-age rom-com that makes anyone watching feel warm inside. And lonely. I definitely felt lonely.

Lana Condor stars as Lara Jean Covey, a half-Korean teen who keeps secret letters for the five crushes she’s ever had in her life: Peter Kavinsky (her ex-best friend’s ex-boyfriend), Josh Sanderson (her older sister’s ex-boyfriend) and three other guys that don’t add anything to the plotline.

After Lara Jean’s secret letters are sent out by her little sister, Lara Jean starts a fake relationship with Peter, played by Noah Centineo. Having witnessed similar plots in previous films, I knew it was inevitable that their fake relationship would soon complicate with real feelings. From the way he looked at her with such admiration to his constant desire to be with her, Peter clearly surpassed the qualities of a fake boyfriend. If only Lara Jean had realized that sooner, their real relationship could have developed even further on-screen, but it also would not have brought the quintessential hot tub scene that literally melted my heart and started their new, real relationship. I felt foolish being jealous over two fictional characters, but the two actors did an outstanding job at mimicking a relationship full of chemistry and love.

While Lara Jean is a loveable character whose innocence drives the whole plot, she was also a huge obstacle to her own character development. Yes, it would’ve been awkward telling her sister’s ex-boyfriend that she once loved him, but so what? It would’ve given Josh the clarity he deserved. Unlike Lara Jean’s cold attitude towards Josh, a trend in the movie was the warmth of the shadows and overlays. The hue of orange and yellow gave off an innocent and heartfelt vibe. The warmer tones reflected well with the warmth of Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship, a small but crucial detail the movie directors did great in incorporating in the film.

Another aspect of the movie I appreciated was Lara Jean’s ethnicity. The role of Asian representation in Hollywood has expanded and skyrocketed in a positive direction recently. Steering away from the typical Asian characters, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” fosters an Asian representation that I, a Korean, felt fulfilled by. Growing up, the only minimal representation of Asians in the media were the stereotypical immigrants with strong accents mimicked by the perfect white characters. Lara Jean, while awkward and smart, is nothing like the stereotypical Asians in movies or shows. It was absolutely fulfilling to see this kind of positive Asian representation in the film, an aspect that I very much appreciated.

While Lara Jean’s insecurity and inability to be honest irritated me a bit, she was still very much an enjoyable, relatable character. A very simple movie with no special effects or green screens, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” was a great coming-of-age film that harbored many emotions inside me, and I predict, for majority of the viewers as well. From the beautiful development of Peter and Lara Jean’s relationship and the positive Asian representation, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” is a great guilty pleasure that I highly recommend to viewers if they want to feel lonely and sappy and start daydreaming about their hopeless romantic selves.

The Parkway West Pathfinder gives “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” an 8.5/10.