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To All the Boys

Image Credit: © Netflix, Inc.

Phoebe Simcock, 26th Jun 2021
Tags: Life Review Comedy Drama Romance

It feels as if Netflix is dominating the viewing world. The streaming service is gracing us with everything from tiger-based documentaries to regency era London glamour.

Based on the diverse nature of their originals, we knew that a warm-hearted rom-com film would be coming our way. But a film trilogy, that I was not expecting.

Based on the novels by Jenny Han, ‘To All the Boys’ is a series of three American romance films that instantly made teen icons out of its two main stars.

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The films feature around our doubting but determined heroine Lara Jean (played by Lana Condor) and her experiences surrounding relationships, maturity and decisions about her future. 

Lara Jean writes letters to boys that she has previously adored and hides them, and when these letters are leaked, she finds herself making some complicated decisions.

Every rom-com is in danger of being another predictable series of events.

Every rom-com is in danger of being another predictable series of events and lacking in the freshness that we are craving from a new Netflix original.

Despite this film series presenting us with colourful personalities and cinematography accompanied by a very diverse playlist, it does hold some tropes that should have been left behind with the likes of ‘Clueless’.

To all the boys
Image Credit: Giphy

A fresh element that stood out to me was the choice to cast an actor of Korean heritage as the starring role. This should not be an unusual thing to see in film, but it still is. 

Lana Condor was an amazing choice for the leading protagonist; she demonstrated that everyone has the capability to be both vulnerable and strong and the grey area between this is what gives a human and relatable quality to her that isn’t always developed in cinema. 

The title itself gives us a nudge about the importance of maturity.

This grey area becomes a little clearer when we consider the notion of maturity. The title itself gives us a nudge about the importance of maturity as it mentions boys that she has loved before, suggesting that we will see people that were important to her in her past and maybe people that she has grown out of.

It is very pleasing to see more than a two-dimensional female lacking in-depth, a repeated rom-com favourite.

To all the boys
Image Credit: Giphy

This brings me onto predictable tropes, namely the on-off relationship which Lara Jean holds with the lead male protagonist Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo). 

Peter receives one of Lara’s letters and she unpredictably kisses him to hide from someone else, this leads to them deciding to have a fake relationship to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. 

They do end up actually falling for each other.

As you’d expect, they do end up actually falling for each other and take on a Ross and Rachel-esque ‘will they won’t they’ throughout the film trilogy. 

Lara Jean and Peter use others to present their commitment to each other and play with other people’s emotions in doing this, is this a realistic depiction of true love or just a bit selfish?

To all the boys
Image Credit: © Netflix, Inc.

When taking on a trilogy, it’s important to know how to tackle it, treat the films as one whole or as individual pieces of work? Personally, I like to do both.

Overall, the first film was my favourite as it seemed like a completely new idea but as it developed into the second and third film that’s when the predictability became apparent which lost my interest. However, as a trilogy, I found it enjoyable and easy to watch. Give it a go and see if you agree!

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