The Brief: Netflix's latest original film, To All The Boys I've Loved Before is the late-summer teen Rom-Com that everyone's talking about.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, based on a novel by Jenny Han, tells the story of a lovestruck 16-year-old, Lara Jean Covey, whose secret, never meant to be seen love letters to “all the boys she’s loved before” are mailed out. Lara then must deal with the reactions of her past and present crushes upon receiving these intimate, heartfelt letters. In order to cover-up these crushes, including one on her older sister’s boyfriend, Laura Jean and a popular lacrosse player named Peter pretend to date. Spoiler alert: they may or may not fall in love.
The film has received mixed reviews overall, with both praise and criticism for its optimistic, glamorized portrayal of teen-dating. It has a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and Variety dubbed it as a “Sixteen Candles for the Snapchat generation.”
Notably, the main character, Lara Jean’s parents are Korean and white. She’s played by Vietnamese American actress Lana Condor. With films like Crazy Rich Asians, Asian representation in Hollywood is becoming more widespread and nuanced. However, Asian and Asian American representation remains a pressing issue, especially with the prevalence of stereotyping and whitewashing of Asian and Asian American characters in film and television. Some critics have noted the film’s lack of an Asian love interest for Lara Jean, and how that perpetuates erasure of Asian men in media.
Between Crazy Rich Asians, Searching, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the asian representation in movies this month has been INSANE. Is this what white people feel like
— chai (@chaimomile) September 3, 2018
People are really excited about the character Peter Kavinsky and the actor who played him, Noah Centineo. Stan Twitter is blowing up with admiration for the young heartthrob. In response, some people are pointing out how awesome Lana Condor is, or how Centineo and his character may not actually be that great.
all I want in life is to find my noah centineo
— James Charles (@jamescharles) September 2, 2018
me: i'm not really a romantic
peter kavinsky: drives across town to buy lara jean korean yogurt smoothie drink
me: love is eternal and transcendent, soulmates will always find each other in this lifetime and the next,
— sami (@geysermitski) August 20, 2018
yall talk about noah centineo's hair but lana condor with short hair? exudes the biggest uwu energy pic.twitter.com/QdRltJu4rW
— sana | kos spoilers (@brennaconneIly) September 2, 2018
Fans are already asking for a sequel, which seems likely due to the film’s success and the fact that a sequel to the novel has already been written.
On Twitter, women have been contrasting the film’s glorification of hetero-romantic ideals with their real life experiences. It has made for some funny, and hard-hitting memes.
To All The Boys I Thought I Loved Before I Realized I Was Actually Gay And Just Performing Heteronormativity Because It Was All I Saw Represented In Media, So Loving A Girl Didn’t Seem Like An Option, I Mean I Guess It Was Shown On “The L Word” But We Didn’t Have Showtime Becaus
— brittany ashley (@britt27ash) August 27, 2018
To All The Boys Who Weren’t Actually Boys They Were Grown Men And They Still Pursued Me When I Was A Teenager What The Hell Was That About Lmao What The Fuck Guys
— beth mccoll (@imteddybless) September 2, 2018
To All The Boys That I Stole T-shirts From
— Ⓚ Ⓣ (@kt_idk) September 3, 2018
To All The Boys I’ve Intimidated Before
— Lesli Margherita (@QueenLesli) September 2, 2018