Would you keep your feelings for a crush written in a letter, hidden away from the world? How many letters would you have? I would never risk the chance of someone finding those letters. It’s bad enough reading back some of the messages I’ve sent to girls on Tinder, let alone writing a letter expressing my inner most feelings for someone. I do believe though, however, that letters are the most passionate way of expressing your love to someone. It takes time and effort to produce and shows the lengths you are willing to go to show your love and appreciation for a person.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before follows Lara Jean (Lana Condor), a young innocent teen on the route to what love truly means to her. For years, she has kept her most inner feelings for guys in a box, written within letters, hidden away within her room. Ever since her mother died, she hasn’t been able to let anyone in, becoming a recluse and a mockery of the school. Siblings being siblings, her younger sister, Kitty (Anna Cathcart) decides to take it into her own hands and send the letters out herself, aiming to get her older sister out of the single scene. Her older sister Margot (Janel Parrish) however recently broke up with her main crush and best friend, Josh (Israel Broussard) and the letters have got out. Who does Lara Jean fall in love with or does she get utterly embarrassed and decide not to follow any of her love interests?
Susan Johnson – new director to the feature scene, she only has Carrie Pilby to back her up, but her direction is excellently executed throughout this romantically pleasurable journey. Aided by director of photography, Michael Fimognari, every shot was perfectly measured, aligning each subject together, making the romance of the film ever more intense. Aesthetically pleasing to the eye, the colour punched out of the screen. I could talk forever about how beautiful and perfect each scene was shot. As much as the story lacked in areas, the techniques used made up for it.
The cast may not have been the most recognisable but they were the right people for the job in hand. Lana Condor masterfully played the protagonist, using her innocent, cute looks to make us believe in her love story. The main man himself, Noah Centineo is definitely a man every woman has started drooling over. I can only imagine what the female population were thinking when they saw his character spin Lara Jean around by the waist pocket on her jeans into his arms, looking lovingly into her eyes. You believe in the relationship between the characters, not only between the protagonists but between the family unit and friends around them.
Acting and direction aside, the conversion of novel to movie script may have taken a few mis-edits here and there. I personally haven’t read the novel but who would write the addresses on the letters envelopes for sending if it’s just a crush hidden away? I don’t know. Some parts I struggled to understand the meanings behind, but that may just be me being picky. I may have said this before but I’ll say it again, it’s nice to see female directors coming to the forefront and directing high quality films. Susan Johnson’s directing ability is only something I can aspire to and hope to produce in the future. I am sure she is having the same effect on a lot of other young directors, whether they be male or female. The fact we are seeing Netflix push female direction forward is a step in the right direction and should be produced more often on the platform.
Overall, I rather pleasantly enjoyed this film. Again, I clicked on it thinking it would be poor in every way but it’s a romantic comedy that’s worth watching, especially if you are wanting to drool over a lot of cute, male actors. Unconventionally, I would like to end this review by joining on the bandwagon of memes created from this movie. To all the girls I’ve fancied but never had the balls to tell, apologies, but looking at it now, I was most likely punching way above my weight so it was probably best I kept my mouth shut.