Movie Review : To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before –– Yay or Nay?
Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved– five in all. When she writes she can pour her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.
A Sneak Peek Into The Story :
Lara Jean has a secret. Want to know what that is?
No, come closer. This is between life and death to Lara Jean. This is her whole high school career and her dignity on the line here. So if I let you in on this little secret, you’ll have to promise to keep it with you until the day you die. Okay?
And I know your type. Don’t just nod furiously, bobbing your head up and down just so that you can get to the secret sooner and share it to your friends by your next breath. We don’t want none of that. This is a top secret file, and everyone involved should swear on their first kiss that you’ll never, and I stress, ever ever ever tell anyone about this.
Okay, here goes. Lara Jean writes letters.
Wait, wait. Hey don’t you roll your eyes at me. It’s not as simple as you think it is. She writes letters, but it’s not just any letter. It’s a letter to all the boys that she had loved before. Now, this might be funny to some. Thinking that Lara is cheesy and weird for writing those letters, yet never sending them to its designated recipients. But see, that was never the point. Lara never wrote it with the intention to send it. She wrote it when she had a crush so intense, so overwhelming that she found herself unable to function. Those letters were written when all she wanted to do was to go up to said crush and kiss him senseless, yet knowing full well it was not the lady-like thing to do.
That was when Lara Jean will pull out a piece of paper, and pour out all her feelings onto it.
Now, since I have gone this far in this secret sharing sesh (is that how the cool kids say session), I might as well go all the way and tell you where she store her letters. And again, I am putting my trust in you with all this heavy duty secret. Are you still sure you want to know more?
Lara Jean store her letters –– 5 of them, one for each boy that she’d had an intense crush on –– in a hatbox, on the very top corner of her dresser, obscured by a bunch of colorful clothes so that it did not cause any suspicions if her sisters ever came into her room to look around.
Lara had it all thought out. After all, she had been doing it for quite some time, so there is not way in hell that anyone would ever find out about her letters. Not her older sister Margot, nor her young sister Kitty, nor her dad. And especially not the 5 boys that she had had a crush on before. God forbid.
Now, there are only the tw––
Wait. OH. MY. GOD.
I just got a text message from Lara Jean.
The letters are out! And you would never in a million years guess who it was sent to. All the 5 boys Lara had loved before.
To be quite honest, I was not expecting much from this movie going in. I mean no offense, but honestly, how many ways could one spin a cutesy teenage romance that ends happily? Answer : not many.
Everything in “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” were highly predictable, as fun and original as the plot was in the beginning, it grew stale really quickly for me when I could work out the ending of the story 30 minutes into the movie.
When I think back, I found that there were barely any good points that the movie left me with. I mean, I almost fell asleep out of boredom an hour into the movie. That should tell you something, no? So here I am, sitting in front of my computer trying to think of some good points that this film presented rather just going all in pointing out all it’s negatives and flaws.
I mean, technically I could do that. Because hey, who’s stopping me from doing that? But your girl is going to take the high road today, and work on her inner bitchiness. You know, being zen, making peace with the world and all that jazz. Despite my earlier promise though, I make no claim that I can hold back being sarcastic from time to time.
Now, into the review. The positives. You know it’s bad when you literally have to sit down and give yourself sometime to think about the positives of a film before reviewing it, but here goes.
First things first, I really enjoy the originality of it. While I don’t really watch a lot of chick flick, or cutesy teenage romance movies to know if this plot had been used on a movie before, I am willing to take the risk and go out on a limb and praise it for it’s authenticity. Not only because it’s highly believable that a teenager would write out all their feelings in a piece of paper –– yes, I’m calling myself out –– and hid it in a safe place. I must admit, the way the whole thing was executed was pretty amazing too.
From Lara being sneaky about her letters, and panicking when she realized her letters had all been sent to the boys she used to have a crush on. To her trying to handle the situation and get it all under control were all very spot on and adorable. For all that this movie was worth, if I had to praise it, I would pick this point. I really love just how simple and realistically they portray the life of a high schooler, from their daily routine all the way to the romantic interests.
Another thing worth mentioning while we’re at it is the fact that To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before openly embraced diversity. I know in 2018 there had been a lot more diversity campaigns and equality and all that, yet it’s still very heartwarming all the same to see an asian holding the spotlight instead of the usual supporting role.
Moving onto the cons of this movie, which are sadly more than the pros. The first thing I noticed right away was that it was boring. I had a very hard time trying to keep my concentration on the screen rather than be on my phone. I was about 30 minutes into the movie, and already I was ready to be done with the whole thing and move on to some other films. But I didn’t. My stupid ass stuck through the majority of the movie, in hopes that it will take turn for the better. And let me tell you, it didn’t.
It dragged. On, and on and on.
There was barely any conflict at all in the movie. The only thing that resembled to a real conflict was when Lara Jean’s sister found out that Lara used to have a crush on her ex-boyfriend. But of course, as with how it usually is with these kind of movies, it was all done within 3 minutes and before you know it, they are already back to being besties again. One of the thing that I found hilariously mind staggering about was the fact that they managed to try to squeeze out another conflict out of a scrunchie. Lord forgive me for I shall swear like a sailor for the next few sentences but, a mother fucking scrunchie. Are you fucking kidding me?
Was it that bad that you literally could not find anything else to fight about?
And all that added drama with the mean girls trying to snatch Lara Jean’s boyfriend away and all that was just too juvenile for me. I was expecting it to be more intense, like mean girls level intense. But what I got was some wimpy ass famous high schooler with too much boob padding and make up.
As I suppose you can tell by now, the ending too, was a straight line and pretty predictable. Lara Jean dated a boy, Lara Jean likes said boy, boy likes Lara Jean back. Lara Jean kisses boy. Boy kisses Lara Jean.
Bada bing bada bung.
Throw in some scrunchie conflict, some grinding in the hot tub, and we shall have… a happy ending! Hurrah!
The Verdict :
If my annoyance and bitchiness for this movie did not shine through enough, then please, let me kindly confirm it for you here.
This movie sucks donkey ass.
It was very predictable and honestly, is it just me or there’s barely any chemistry between the two supposedly head-over-heels-for-each-other main characters? I mean, not trying to brag here, but I think there’s more sexual tension between me and my plant cactus than these two.
With all that said, it could be that I am not the intended audience for this movie. If you have a daughter who’s age range is about 10-15 year olds, they might enjoy it more than I did since it seems to be targeted towards that demographic more. And worry not parents, all the things that happened in this movie were all pretty PG. I mean, the most scandalous scene in this movie was when they were making out in the hot tub. But even then, they were both clothed and truly, it was more of a kissing than making out session.
Also, for those of you who are curious about the book as well, since this movie did come first as a book, do give it a go if you enjoyed the film. Plus, I heard the ending was a little bit different with the book and the movie? I might be wrong though since I’ve never read it before. So don’t take my word on it.
With that said, if you are not in the age range of 10 to 15 year olds, and you generally do not enjoy cutesy chick flick, I would really highly suggest that you skip this one. Despite all the hype that it has garnered, this movie is truly not worth 2 hours of your life. Of course, if you’d still like to give it a go after all the warnings I’ve given, please be my guest and go right ahead. I’ll be here waiting with open ears if you need to vent after the movie, and if on that day I’m feeling kind enough, I’ll share my popcorn too.