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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before brings more Asian representation to Netflix

Lara Jean, played by Lana Condor, looks into the distance as she writes.  To All the Boys I've Loved Before is one of the few mainstream movies featuring an Asian-American lead.

Lara Jean, played by Lana Condor, looks into the distance as she writes. To All the Boys I've Loved Before is one of the few mainstream movies featuring an Asian-American lead.

Photos Courtesy of www.allure.com

Lara Jean, played by Lana Condor, looks into the distance as she writes. To All the Boys I've Loved Before is one of the few mainstream movies featuring an Asian-American lead.

Photos Courtesy of www.allure.com

Photos Courtesy of www.allure.com

Lara Jean, played by Lana Condor, looks into the distance as she writes. To All the Boys I've Loved Before is one of the few mainstream movies featuring an Asian-American lead.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before brings more Asian representation to Netflix

December 8, 2018

Upon its August release date, Netflix’ teen romance, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, received rave reviews from critics and fans alike.

Staring Lana Condor as the character Lara Jean, the story follows Jean as her life becomes flipped upside down following her sister’s departure for college and her younger sister mailing a box full of previous love letters she wrote to all her past loves.

One of the most relatable and realistic movies of the year, To All the Boys I’ve Loved is a painfully awkward but accurate depiction of what high school crushes and young love truly are.
Lara Jean is the middle child in a trio of sisters in a Korean-American family, with a dead mother and a white gynecologist father.

Jean is a typical high school student, she has great friends, countless problems, and is just as awkward as the rest of us.

Her sister, Margot, played by Janel Parrish, is one of her best friends and someone who Lara can go to whenever she feels the need to. Though, when it comes time, Margot leaves for college, and Lara is left to deal with the ups and downs of high school all by herself.
As school starts, Lara’s younger sister Kitty, played by Anna Cathcart, finds and sends out love letters that Lara wrote throughout her life but kept hidden deep in her closet.

Lara Jean is caught in a nightmarish scenario where she is left to face two of the five boys the letters were sent out to. One being Josh, played by Israel Broussard, the ex-boyfriend of her older sister. Lara is heartbroken because their friendship becomes distant and their relationship slowly deteriorates after he receives the letter. The other letter is addressed to popular school stud, Peter Kavinsky, played by Noah Centineo, who has a completely different reaction to the love letter he receives from Lara. His plan: have a fake relationship with Lara to make his ex-girlfriend jealous enough to get back together with him.

Such a plan sounds completely bogus, especially considering that as the movie progresses the plan does not work at all. Lara and Peter’s fake feelings for each other start to flourish into real love.

The film is one of the best romantic movies that have been released in recent years. That is not to say that it doesn’t suffer from a cliche theme and somewhat overused plot, but it takes these ideas and freshens them up by adding new substance. It successfully shows the slow but steady build up in Lara and Peters relationship. Themes of self love and family run through the film. It isn’t just a movie about love but a movie about learning to appreciate and love yourself before loving anyone else. It emphasizes that bonding with family is one of the most important things which almost makes love seem like only a subplot of the movie.

Lana Condor gives a successful performance in the movie — playing a convincing high school student that real life students can relate to. Jean is a three dimensional character that does not adhere to the many stereotypes that romances has set for female leads as a quiet, unpopular, nerdy girl. Noah Centineo’s performance of Peter Kavinsky was a phenomenal play on the “jock” stereotype. He plays a charming and confident guy who not only shows empathy but breaks the the labels put on many of the jockesque male leads we see on TV today.

To All The Boys made waves upon its release for more reasons than one. Many praised the film for its portrayal of Asian-American individuals and families. People raved as Lara Jean did not follow the stereotypical nerdy asian that we see in most of today’s films.

Isabella Galle, a junior, said, “I truly believe representation matters, especially in even a genre as popular as romance. Even seeing an Asian actress play a lead role in a movie that isn’t solely centered around her ethnicity showed me that the typical stereotypes aren’t as heavily focused in American movies nowadays. Her characteristics weren’t the common “nerdy Asians” things, which I really appreciated.”

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is one for the books in Netflix’ catalog of hit films and TV shows. It’s unexpected success has put it on par with other hit originals from the streaming service such as Stranger Things.

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