To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) – Review

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is available to stream on Netflix beginning August 17th.

By Ryan Willis

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before follows an average teenage girl named Lara Jean Covey. She wrote letters to all of her past loves, notes intended for her eyes only. Suddenly the messages get out to the boys, and Lara has no idea how. Choas ensues as her crushes confront her one by one.

Ever since the trailer was posted back in June, I’ve been looking to this movie. Not only would this coming-of-age film star a person of color, but that same diversity was behind the camera as well with director Susan Johnson and Writer Jenny Han. This is a huge deal considering the climate in Hollywood. I’m pleased to report that All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is really damn good.

Despite being filled with cliches and tropes present in mainstream coming of age films, the sincerity of the script shines right past that and makes for an incredibly genuine experience. It doesn’t opt to exaggerate teen angst or awkwardness in an over the top way. It just presents its characters in an incredibly human and grounded fashion – a breath of fresh air from all the immature and out of touch programming Netflix has released recently.

What makes the quaintness of this film work is the acting and the dialogue. Character interactions are filled with down to earth discussions about struggles and complicated disposition toward certain topics. It avoids the reliance on hollow, cutesy banter that plagues a lot of teen romcoms. The lead performances from Lana Condor and Noah Centineo are star-making. Their overwhelming sense of charisma and chemistry had me smiling all the way through.

The only issues I had with To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before aren’t too damning but worth mentioning none the less. I felt some of the supporting characters were awkwardly incorporated into the larger narrative. They mostly only appear to give our leads some internal conflict which leads to them feeling like plot devices despite their earnest scenes. I also think the pacing and story development in the third act is rushed. Just a tonne of shifts in the story that needed more room to breathe.

Still, All the Boys is a total blast that portrays a very healthy, insightful story for young girls to relate to.

I give To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before a B+.