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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before perfectly captures the dynamic nature of teen romance

The rom-com doesn’t shy away from cliches-- it embraces them and executes them with emotional appeal

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On Tuesday night, I found myself giving in to the pressures from social media to watch the newest Netflix original hit film. At first, I thought it was gonna be just another awful, corny teen romance movie.

An hour and 39 minutes later, my friends had received at least 40 texts about how I was destined to meet my own Peter Kavinsky and mourning the lack of a hand lovingly placed in my own back pocket.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is based on the 2014 young adult novel by Jenny Han. It tells the story of Lara Jean, a shy 16-year-old who is obsessed with romance novels yet terrified by love itself, and Peter Kavinsky, the most popular guy in school, as they navigate a fake relationship.

As is entirely expected, the two find themselves catching real feelings towards each other with several complications to follow.

The film’s charm is largely based upon how unapologetically it embraces common archetypes (i.e. the quiet indie girl, the popular jock, the jock’s hostile girlfriend) within romance films. However, despite the presence of these typical characters, the film sets itself apart by delving into their complex personalities with caring affection.

Lara and Peter bond over somber conversations of lost parents. Lara and her achingly “hip” father dance around a local diner to 1985 hit song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (twice) in memoriam of her late mother. Peter often teases Lara’s younger sister, demonstrating his acceptance into the family and hinting at their developing romance.

Classic formulas– the unexpected loner/jock relationship, the envious ex-girlfriend, sweet gestures of little love notes– invite the viewer to adore the lovers and detest any obstacles in their way.

You can’t help but root for the protagonists and find yourself getting personally invested in their emotions. Their happiness turns into a smile on your face, their heartbreak turns into your own resentment. All feelings of the too-well-known quintessential (and often times, melodramatic) teen heartbreak bubble to the surface both in the movie and your own heart.

Another highlight to the movie is its true-to-novel leading lady: an Asian-American. In an article published by Han herself, she revealed that all but one singular production company wanted to whitewash the film. Despite the backlash, Han wouldn’t budge and maintained that Lara’s Korean-American heritage is an important part of the story.

Ultimately, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is an endearing, sweet tale of young love. Forget the cynical feelings of being jaded and hurt, which many often find themselves associating with love as they get older, and immerse yourself in the warmth of the film.

Remember the exciting feelings of a hand in your back pocket– just try to not spam your friends in the process.

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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before perfectly captures the dynamic nature of teen romance