By Joan Olivero
This past summer, original movies created by Netflix have taken the world by storm. More specifically, the film To All the Boys I've Loved Before sent the internet into a tailspin. The teenage romantic comedy scored a nearly perfect 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and had critics everywhere raving. Although the basis of the film is just like many other teenage movies, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before introduces quirky, relatable, and charming characters that keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
The protagonist, Lara Jean Covey’s life goes haywire when her younger sister Kitty sends out her most important possessions: her love letters. Whenever she has a crush so strong she can’t stand it, Laura Jean writes a detailed love letter. She then addresses it to the boy, and places it in her favorite shoebox, for no one’s eyes but her own. Or so she thinks. The letters are mailed out, and to spare herself from complete embarrassment, Lara Jean convinces the school’s most popular jock, Peter Kavinsky, who is one of the five boys who received a letter, to fake a relationship with her. The story then follows their relationship and what it eventually turns into.
As much as Netflix would probably love to take credit for this amazing concept, the film was based on the novel of the same name by Jenny Han, and let me tell you, the book is even more gripping than the movie. Through Han’s incredible storytelling, the emotion and conflict of Lara Jean’s life is almost palpable.
Like most film adaptations of novels, there are always parts of the novel that are left out to create room for a condensed storyline. SPOILER ALERT: While the movie ends on a romantic final scene, Jenny Han finishes off her first novel in the trilogy with a major falling out between Lara Jean and Peter that has us wanting more.
As a TV-14 film, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a great movie for teenagers because it conveys a message that an unlikely relationship can blossom when one chooses to step out of one’s social comfort zone. Both the novel and the film focus on the relevance of teenage life by highlighting how many young adults deal with the daily obstacles of growing up, while at the same time keeping a comedic and heartfelt tone. Who knew that five letters could change a girl’s life forever?