‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’: Netflix is stepping up their rom-coms

For a movie that only came out about two weeks ago on Netflix, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” has become remarkably popular. Its plot is like no other romantic comedy Netflix has been able to produce so far, mostly because it’s good, and not in the way “The Kissing Booth” is, which was so horrendously awful in plot, dialogue and character that you couldn’t help but love it. It’s good in the way “The Princess Bride” is. It’s funny and loveable, and it makes you grow attached to the characters to the point of really caring about what happens to them in the end.

It follows the story of a girl named Lara Jean (Lana Condor) who has had five close calls with love in her life. To cope with each of these crushes, she wrote each boy a letter describing what made her fall for them and what she would do with them if they were together. As she began accumulating these love letters she tucked them away in a small box in her closet. This action is incredibly relatable for viewers. Who hasn’t confessed a crush to a friend or on a page, or fantasized about a relationship that would never happen? It’s a part of being a teenager. Within the first minute of the movie, the audience finds themselves connected to the main character.

Lara Jean is also a lot more likeable than most Netflix leads. She is quiet and nice, as well as softly beautiful. She isn’t the usual loud, gorgeous girl Netflix goes with. She spends her weekends at the beginning of the movie hanging out with her little sister Kitty and watching old reruns of “The Golden Girls.” She acts like a person and not a character.

The plot mainly revolves around Kitty’s decision to intervene with Lara Jean’s quiet life and mail out the love letters, in the hope that one of the boys would read it and decide to be her boyfriend. The problem with this, besides the obvious embarrassment, was that one of the boys that Lara Jean had a crush on was her older, college-aged sister Margot’s (Janel Parrish) newly ex-boyfriend Josh (Israel Broussard). To avoid talking about the letter with Josh, she made out with Peter (Noah Centineo), another letter recipient, and accidentally sparked the flame for a fake relationship.

There is nothing more enticing in a rom-com than a fake relationship, and this movie does it beautifully. Fake hand-holding and long glances evoke squeals. The line between real and fake gets blurred to the point that even things like texts can be overanalyzed by viewers. As the conflict that created the relationship both worsens and resolves, audiences become split over whether they want Lara Jean with Josh or Peter. Layers of bullying, family-obligation and blatant attraction make this movie ridiculously easy to get invested in.

Netflix movies usually rank among themselves, but this movie deserves to be legitimately compared with the other great rom-coms of the past. It should be right up there with “Sleepless in Seattle” and “Notting Hill.” So if you haven’t watched this movie yet, watch it right now. Use someone else’s Netflix account if you have to. It might end up being one of the cutest movies to come out this year.

Rating: 5/5


Rebecca Maher is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rebecca.maher@uconn.edu.