The weekend of August 17th has been groundbreaking for Asian Americans in Hollywood with the gold opening of Crazy Rich Asians, the first Hollywood film with a predominantly Asian cast since 1993, and with the premiere of the Netflix Original Movie To All The Boys I Loved Before, the first Hollywood young adult Rom-Com to star an Asian American female lead, based off Jenny Han’s novel of the same title.
This latest high school, book to film adaptation follows the story of Lara-Jean Song Covey (Lana Condor), a Korean American teen who has her whole world shaken after her secret love letters are somehow mailed without her permission.
Before watching To All The Boys I Loved Before, I told myself not to get my hopes up; to keep my expectations as low as possible. Hollywood has butchered many YA book adaptations (Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief, The Giver, The Darkest Minds), so I wanted to avoid being disappointed if the movie took too many artistic liberties or if strayed too far from the source material.
To my surprise, I was all but smiles while watching the movie. Everything was spot on from the casting to the wardrobe and even to Lara-Jean’s bedroom. While there were major scenes from the book that didn’t make it into the film such as the scene that described Lara-Jean’s mother’s death or the Halloween scene where Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), Lara-Jean’s fake boyfriend, gets jealous over Lara-Jean wearing a matching Harry Potter costume with her next door neighbor and old crush, Josh Sanderson (Israel Broussard), I believe the movie did an amazing job at capturing the overall essence of the book.
In 99 minutes, the movie brought together the most important aspects of the book from the budding relationship between Lara-Jean and Peter, to the tight-knit bonds between Lara-Jean and her two sisters, and even to the every day life of a mixed-race, Asian American family.
To All The Boys I Loved Before was more than I expected. If you have Netflix, put this movie into your watchlist and watch it as soon as you can, and if you don’t have Netflix, I highly recommend starting the one month free-trial because this movie is worth it.