To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)
August 19, 2018 5:52 AM - Subscribe

A teenage girl's secret love letters are exposed and wreak havoc on her love life.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (40 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Based on a book of the same name. The author insisted any movie produced feature an Asian-American lead. NYT: An Asian-American Teen Idol Onscreen, Finally
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:10 AM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


This was not terrible!
posted by zeek321 at 9:34 AM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Like 23.5% as good as Crazy Rich Asians, which is pretty damn good!
posted by zeek321 at 9:35 AM on August 19, 2018


I had to pause six minutes in and collect myself because GAH the older sister climbed into her bed and under her covers wearing SHOES.

It was a weird film to watch, very sweet as a rom-com. Not enough female gaze shots for a film around female desire, but Lara Jane experiences crushes, not actual desire - no one really seems to lust or other less sensible emotions here. It's a genre, a cozy romance.

I had trouble telling the two white guys apart initially because they both look very similar IMO, is that meant to suggest she has a type, or is that just a bland dude thing?

It was fluff well made, and with different ingredients but not having that be the focus, so instead of being all A Very Special Episode where her biracial identity or her lost mother or anything else identity- based is the focus, she is a romantic heroine first and biracial as an adjective. I'm not thrilled by the Notes Ephronesque suburban setting but it's a film I really want to rewatch with my kids next week when they're all here, just to see how they perceive it.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 3:44 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


I very much enjoyed it, though romcoms are usually Not My Thing. Could certainly identify with the high school awkwardness (yes, to wandering through the cafeteria looking for a safe place to sit!). Liked but felt sad for Margot having to grow up so damn fast over the last ten years and can't blame her for finally going away as far as she could for a little bit. Liked the sisters dynamic and Kitty's bike helmet. Dad didn't have much to do besides being the Best Dad Ever but after eleven years he can still barely talk about his wife, so there's still a world of hurt in there.


Sidenote: is there any chance that the evil ex-girlfriend is telling the truth about who shot the video? Seems like the sort of thing she'd revel in.
posted by Mogur at 5:33 PM on August 19, 2018


I liked that it reinforced that not all high school students are having sex, even couples. And I thought the nod to LJ’s problematic fave was interesting.
posted by rikschell at 8:32 PM on August 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Honestly the only thing that was a huge distraction for me was Lara Jane's ginormous bedroom, the kind that seems to only exist in the movies.

The rest of it was cute, though I too found the boys bland. I did think it was realistic that her nemesis became her nemesis because of an incident in middle school that LJ had forgotten. Oh, the things I do not miss about grade school.
posted by TwoStride at 9:03 PM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the shots that look towards the foot of the bed would have to be from mid-air outside the house.

On size: Dad has a sought-after medical specialty (albeit with high malpractice insurance costs), so the house is actually kind of modest compared to what it could be. That's why I think the "not coming home at Thanksgiving" was Margot wanting some space, not actual economics (vide my comment above about how she really is trying to get away as far as she can).
posted by Mogur at 5:25 AM on August 20, 2018


I just finished it. Very frothy in its genre way, and I enjoyed it very much. Lol, I had to look up the summary for the back third because I couldn't stand to not be prepared for the expected betrayal. Overall it's a solid entry.
posted by cendawanita at 8:28 AM on August 20, 2018


I see Netflix has options on the next two books. I hope they go for it.
posted by Mogur at 9:57 AM on August 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


That was really fun. I really enjoyed watching it and so did my family, though my daughter isn't usually much for romcoms. By the end of the film, my spouse could tell Peter and Josh apart. I still had to rely on the context of where they appeared and what they talked about. I really wish they had cast more different looking love interests, however realistic it may be that Lara Jean has a "type".

We had a hard time, not with the largeness of Lara Jean's room, but the neatness of it. People keep commenting on how messy she is, but her room was clearly carefully curated, with a few pieces of clothing artfully draped across the floor. If they wanted it to be actually messy, they could have offered it to the cast as a hangout space and gotten it legit slobby.

I loved how Kitty thought five chances at love was a good idea and Lara Jean was basically overwhelmed and confused at even one of them. Also, either she's an amazing writer or just super sincere and thoughtful in her letters, since every guy who got a letter wanted to at least have a conversation with her and let her know how he's feeling.

It was also quite faithful to the book (at least as far as I can remember) and I hope they make the rest of the books into movies too. I do hope they market a little better though, since I didn't even realize it had been made into a movie until yesterday, and, as someone who read the book, I have to be at least some amount of the target audience. (And we did get a month of Netflix largely to watch this, though I will see what else they've got now.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:44 AM on August 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


every guy who got a letter wanted to at least have a conversation with her

AHH! Good point! I totally missed that on my watching. She got a 100% hit rate with her direct mail approach! Nobody gets numbers like that. She must be amazing writer. :)
posted by Mogur at 11:18 AM on August 20, 2018 [7 favorites]


I liked it. It had a lot in common with Love, Simon and Easy A, which are among my favorite teen comedies. And as a mixed White/Asian American, it's nice (and rare) to see families like mine represented as normal and non-exotic.

In case anyone else, like me, obsesses over filming locations: The movie was filmed in Vancouver, BC (including locations you might recognize from Riverdale), but the gondola in the establishing shot near the start was the Portland Aerial Tram with Mount St Helens in the background.
posted by mbrubeck at 4:30 PM on August 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


I also had trouble telling the white boys apart in this movie. I'm glad it wasn't just me.

However, Lana Condor as Lara Jean is basically just the cutest and I really enjoyed watching her in this movie. I'm generally kind of "meh" on most teen rom-coms, but this was sweet and it didn't seem like "TRUE LOVE FOREVER" so much as two people just getting to an understanding. I don't know how much I ultimately bought the romance but I liked them. More importantly, I liked her. It was cute and sweet and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

I will happily watch all adaptations of YA books, good or bad, whether I've read them or not (usually not).

I am super jealous of LJ's red coat, though. There was some good fashion (and a good soundtrack!) in this movie.
posted by darksong at 6:45 PM on August 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


I've read the first of the two books in the trilogy and enjoyed them for what they are. I've yet to watch the movie as I wasn't sure what it covered (whether it went into the third book or not). It sounds like it doesn't.

Interesting that you all say that the two male love interests look the same, in the book, I recall they are described quite differently (they're both white and possibly have dark hair so who knows). In my head Peter was tall and lanky and that doesn't seem to be the case from the stills I have seen.

The books are fine. They're fluff. But I appreciate that they deal with her being biracial, not having a mother around and Korean culture. They also fit in a lot more with my experience of high school because I was not going around having sex but had very deep and (mainly harmless) crushes on many people at the same time.
posted by liquorice at 6:57 PM on August 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


Sidenote: is there any chance that the evil ex-girlfriend is telling the truth about who shot the video? Seems like the sort of thing she'd revel in.

I'm thinking yes, she told the truth. I'm wondering if the best friend Chris (?) shot the video. At one point in the film, Lara Jean tells Chris that her life is not fodder for Chris's feud with her cousin. I'm thinking Chris disagreed and thought this would really put an end to Gen and Peter's flirting and friendship for good. (And thus rationalizing that this is better for Lara Jean as well.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:07 AM on August 21, 2018


AH! That is exactly it! I was trying to think about who would have a motive besides some rando fratboy. Yes, it was definitely Chris. I am also remembering how mad she was that it took Peter so long to defend LJ. That fits.
posted by Mogur at 1:28 PM on August 21, 2018


I love how aggressively domestic and cozy and sweet the books and the film are, and it's kind of annoying seeing that dismissed with terms only really girly things are discussed in - I think the rom-com renaissance we're in is great and hopefully people can see YA that touches lightly on real issues is just as socially valuable as Deep YA. Lara Jean is such a fun character in that she's a realistic depiction of someone shy and internal who isn't that way because she dislikes herself, and I liked how much humor the film mined from that. Jenny Han has said she based her on Beth from Little Women, and drew on the whole sisters baking cookies and hanging out vibe from that too.
posted by colorblock sock at 4:42 PM on August 21, 2018 [6 favorites]


I really liked this!

Seemed odd that a gynecologist would be so late and uncomfortable in talking to his daughter about reproductive health stuff, but maybe that's realistic, parenting is hard.
posted by ITheCosmos at 5:37 PM on August 21, 2018


This was really sweet. I watched with my grade 5 daughter and she loved it, and asked for the books afterwards. I liked the 16 Candles viewing moment a lot. I’m happy that if I’m going to watch sticky, sweet movies with my pre-teens that films like this and Love, Simon are around.
posted by Cuke at 6:24 PM on August 21, 2018


He may have been late, but I dind't read him as uncomfortable. A little unpracticed, maybe. It was LJ who was hilariously uncomfortable with the whole conversation, literally fighting to get out of the car before he said another word.
posted by Mogur at 7:27 PM on August 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


We watched this over the weekend and also really loved it. I also loved that her race was part of the story, but not the story. Normalising race. It was really sweet and cute.
posted by smoke at 11:12 PM on August 21, 2018


Lara Jean is such a fun character in that she's a realistic depiction of someone shy and internal who isn't that way because she dislikes herself

YES, I noticed this, too- I like that she's shy and unsure but not totally self-hating the way characters would be in teen movies back in my day.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:40 AM on August 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


I watched this last night and really liked it. I agree the white boy love interests were hard to tell apart - and I love that you know Peter K. was completely into Lara Jean from before the contract.

However - it's 2018 - so we can't have nice things - Israel Broussard who plays "Josh" apologizes for his offensive tweets about black lives matter, his support of Trump, and others.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 12:24 PM on August 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


Noan Centineo (Peter Kavinsky) is also, uh, causing some commotion. Not so offensively.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:40 PM on August 22, 2018


Twas cute.
posted by k8t at 10:21 PM on August 22, 2018


Was it just me or was that video not so scandalous?
posted by k8t at 10:22 PM on August 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


So, I finally watched the movie last night which was cute and sweet and fluffy, as expected. I think it probably didn't delve in as much as it could have compared to the books (and not sure if there should be a separate thread that discusses both) but still managed to tell the overall story well.

Lara Jean's dad was great and exactly as I expected based on the books. Loving, kind, a little bit out of it but always well-meaning.

I didn't feel like there was a tension between Lara Jean being torn between Josh and Peter at all. It felt like the 'fake relationship' was basically just to avoid Josh and you didn't get a sense of Josh and Lara Jean's relationship post the break-up (he actually came off as way more of a jerk in the movie than I read in the book).

As in the books, I thought the relationships between the three sisters were the more interesting and strongest part of the movie and I love that that came through in the movie as well.

As others have said, I really appreciate the character of Lara Jean. She's an introvert and she's shy, but she doesn't lack confidence. She stands up and for the things she believes in. These are the kind of different and layered strong female characters that I want to see more of on my screens. Not every single young female character has to be sassy and witty and swear lots (although I love those too!)

I hope they make turn the remaining two books into movies as well.
posted by liquorice at 12:37 AM on August 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


I really loved the subtle evil of the scrunchie maneuver. When it changed hands in the first part of the movie, I knew it was going to be like a Chekhov's gun and inspire way more dread than a scrunchie should have a right to inspire in an adult person. It did not disappoint.
posted by witchen at 1:41 PM on August 24, 2018 [11 favorites]


I really loved the subtle evil of the scrunchie maneuver. When it changed hands in the first part of the movie, I knew it was going to be like a Chekhov's gun

Hahaha, yes! After the hot tub scene I was like "hmmm, how are they going to get half an hour more of drama out of this, hasn't it all been wrapped up?" and then I remembered there was a scrunchie on the loose.

I enjoyed this movie a lot. It seems perfect for Netflix - I think it would have felt out of place in a movie theater, and if it had been destined for movie theaters, they probably would have felt pressure to add more sex or bigger laughs or bigger characters or something, but this was intimate and, yes, cozy, and perfect for watching in your living room.

I posted on Facebook that it was sweet but not saccharine. I think that's down to the great acting. The teenagers all felt very real (though I agree Josh could have been fleshed out more), the actress who played LJ is lovely and funny and delightful to watch, and it was fun to see John Corbett as a Cool Dad.

My one quibble was with the weather. It's filmed in BC and supposed to take place in Portland and yet we only see it rain once, for like 5 seconds? C'mon.
posted by lunasol at 10:29 PM on August 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


That's why I think the "not coming home at Thanksgiving" was Margot wanting some space, not actual economics

Well, also, she's going to school in Scotland, so it seems pretty unlikely she'd fly 9 hours plus layovers to go home for a holiday she doesn't get off school three weeks before the end of her term?
posted by lunasol at 10:32 PM on August 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


Oh, one other thing: I really liked how great this movie was about consent - not just in terms of sex but in terms of relationships in general. LJ may be introverted, but she is also the one to make the first move at so many critical points. Both she and whatshisface set boundaries at the beginning and they respect them, even though it's a "fake" relationship. Even at the end, he won't just take the note from her. He wants to her to give it to him of her own free will.

I really liked that a lot and I think it sends a great message to teenagers. So different from so many of the romantic stories I saw as a young kid where the romance was in the man/boy tearing down the woman/girl's boundaries.
posted by lunasol at 10:46 PM on August 27, 2018 [8 favorites]


Eh, I still headcanon that a lot of the mothering fell on her at way too early an age, and the distance was at least partly a reaction to that. Nothing against Edinburgh, Edinburgh is lovely, Mrs Mogur and I had a lovely week there. But it is a *long* way from Portland.
posted by Mogur at 10:46 PM on August 27, 2018


Seemed odd that a gynecologist would be so late and uncomfortable in talking to his daughter about reproductive health stuff, but maybe that's realistic, parenting is hard.

I thought she responded the way she did because they have already had this talk, so he was just reinforcing it again now that she is dating and she was so over it.

Was it just me or was that video not so scandalous?

My impression was it was a brief video so insinuations are easy to make.

I also struggled to tell Josh & Peter apart! When she was talking to Peter on the track and then Josh came up with his note I was so confused.

The big distraction to me was Margot's age. Girl is supposed to be 18?? When she first came in the bedroom I thought she was the mom. Although I suppose she is too young for that. Despite that she was very relatable to me, a bossy sister who always cleans her room (although I am the youngest. So I had to overcome many obstacles to become this bossy).

I mean, the other distraction was just the basic movie detail stuff - like when LJ goes to talk to Peter the last time and he is... on the lacrosse field alone practicing his goal tending? LOL.

In general I found it very refreshing, for all the reasons people have already called out. An introvert who isn't just shy/insecure. Plot driven mainly by a girl's desires. Consent/boundaries. John Corbett as a cool dad.

Are teens into scrunchies again? I know the 90s are back fashion-wise and I haven't paid close attention to the details...
posted by Emmy Rae at 6:00 AM on August 28, 2018


Are teens into scrunchies again? I know the 90s are back fashion-wise and I haven't paid close attention to the details...

Idk about teens, but I sure am! Anthropologie has been pushing them hard, so I assume that's tapping into some existing trend.

Also, I totally also thought Margot was the stepmom at the very beginning. She exudes something older, and she doesn't look very similar to LJ or the youngest sister.
posted by witchen at 7:19 AM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


Oh yes, scrunchies are back, although I don't know for how long. I think they are a bit of a micro-trend, like the small sunglasses micro-trend although attracting much less vitriol.

The entire wardrobe for To All the Boys was influenced by 90s fashion, as shared by this recent interview with the costume designer. Another, less recent article here.
posted by like_neon at 9:20 AM on August 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


I was distracted by the older sister for a different reason. I kept thinking "oh shit, it's Mona!!!"

She's also like 30 in real life, so.
posted by lunasol at 10:38 AM on August 28, 2018


The scene with Lara Jean and her dad in the diner, talking about her mother, got me teary. I loved seeing a movie about a family without a mother, where it's sad and you don't forget about it, but it doesn't consume you, either. The scene with Lara Jean and Peter's family at dinner, where she's trying to make Peter's mother feel better about forgetting that her own mother passed away -- that was so, so relatable.

I love a good rom com, and To All the Boys I've Loved Before is a good one. I'm glad to have it in the world.
posted by PearlRose at 7:15 AM on August 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


I finally saw this last night! I loved getting to see a movie that's lowkey about an Asian girl with a white dad. 31 damn years old and I'm seeing a family that resembles mine on screen for the first time.

Author cameo: she's the teacher in the homecoming scene when Lara and Lucas dance. Hehe.

Personally, I was initially a little weirded out by the nod to Sixteen Candles, specifically because this movie (down to the dad) doesn't include a single Asian dude, and they're really the ones that depiction is punching at. But now I'm thinking perhaps it was to make the point that dating white dudes is not the same thing as thinking Long Duk Dong is OK. (And I love that Peter called it out.)

Anyway, man, I loved this and I hope they make the next two books into movies too. (I still haven't read the third one... I should do something about that.)
posted by sunset in snow country at 8:01 AM on August 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


It was very cute and can I say how happy I was that Lara Jean did not end up with her sister's ex-boyfriend. The mere idea of ever touching someone who dated one of my sisters makes me feel queasy.
posted by Julnyes at 12:07 PM on September 11, 2018


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