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April 17, 2020

To All The Boys I've Loved Before (2018) --- “The Letters Are Out.”

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
A teen romance is fun to see, the ups and downs entertain me. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before does all that and includes much more.  Love letters sent and read at last, Five secret crushes of the past. The writer did not send them out, So how did this deed come about? Facing her problem is Lara Jean, a teen not ready to come clean.  Still, she deals with each teenage boy. Might one of them bring her great joy? Twists and surprises happen here. Yes, you will laugh -- and shed a tear. 
~ Jenny Han
     Directed by Susan Johnson (Carrie Pillby), written by Sofia Alvarez (To All The Boys: P.S I Still Love You), To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) is a teen romance film based off the popular Young Adult novel of the same name by New York Times Bestselling Author Jenny Han. Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) is a normal teen living a normal life but instead of writing in a diary-like most girls she writes love letters. Five to be exact, one for every boy she’s ever loved and keeps them safely hidden in a box, never intending to send them out. But when all five letters are mysteriously mailed out to her previous crushes, Lara Jean’s life goes from imaginary to out of control when her foregoing loves confront her one by one.
     Although the screenplay writer Sofia Alvarez and the book’s author Jenny Han have never met before, the pair were able to bring to life a tender, lighthearted, and comical teen romance that will leave you feeling good. Han stated that when she wrote the book she went in hoping to write a modern, classic love story that felt warm and cozy, and Alvarez made sure to honor that conception in her adaptation of the screenplay by using voice-overs and internal monologue to get us into the head of Lara Jean and help to bridge the gap between the book’s narrative and the film. As a result of their combined styles of writing, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a simple, relatable, and hopeful film without all the cliche and unrealistic nonsense. 
     The cast performances were great. Lana Condor’s (X-Men: Apocalypse, To All The Boys 2) sweet and earnest performance as the film’s female protagonist, Lara Jean, does an incredible job at carrying the story to the end. Although she is tasked with portraying Lara Jean as a sweet and hopeless romantic, Condor is also given the liberty to display a great deal of depth to her character. Opposite of Condor is Noah Centino (The Perfect Date) as the charming and sometimes vulnerable Peter Kavinsky. His performance as Peter is incredibly realistic and his chemistry with Condor is strong enough to give the film a strong anchor to its rom-com storyline. The rest of the supporting cast - Janel Parrish (PLL: Perfectionists), Anna Cathcart (Descendants 3),  John Corbett (47 Meters Down Uncaged), Israel Broussard (Happy Death Day 2U), Emilija Baranac (Riverdale, To All The Boys 2), Andrew Bachelor (Rim of the World), Trezzo Mahoro (To All The Boys 2), and Madeleine Arthur (The Magicians) - round out the cast with good and sometimes hilarious standout performances. 

     Overall, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a simple, relatable, and hopeful film without all the cliche and unrealistic nonsense. Writer Sofia Alvarez honors Jenny Han’s conception while also creating a screenplay that can connect with audiences the same way the book did. The cast performances were great and the actors were perfectly suited for their respective characters but it is clear that Lana Condo carries most of the film. This, of course, is mostly due to the fact that she is the character the audience must connect with the most since she is the main protagonist and narrator in the story. If you're looking for a good rom-com that will leave you feeling cozy and warm then I highly recommend that you check out this film.

Final Vote --- 7.8 of 10 stars

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