All, Joint, Other, Review

MOVIE REVIEW: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Book by Jenny Han
Movie by Netflix

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Bree’s Take:

So, since the release date I think I’ve watched the movie 3 times, 2 times back to back when I came out, and 1 time the other day to refresh my thoughts for this post. The 1st time I watched it, I have to say, I did not like it all. Every deviation from the books plot line irked me. Maybe I’m a harsh critic, but there has only been two book-to-movies that I have genuinely like and enjoyed. The first is The Help and the second is Love, Simon, both of which I HIGHLY recommend both formats. By the 3rd time I watched TATBILB the differences still bugged me, but I enjoyed the underlying teen rom-com more.

Some things I liked:

  • The casting for like 90% of the characters
    • Lara Jean and Peter K are cast exactly as I pictured them when I read the books. (thank you Lana Condor and Noah Centineo)
    • Kitty!! AHHH I love Kitty. She is sassy and absurd and exactly right.
    • John Corbett as Dr Covey, to be fair, he isn’t what I remember picturing as that role, but he ended up being amazing in the role.
  • The banter between LJ and Peter K is friggen adorable, I only wish there was more of it.
  • The movie has a very catchy and apt soundtrack.
  • As I was looking for GIFs for this post I found out how many of the things I absolutely loved in the movie were completely improvised by Noah.
    • The ass pocket spin, setting the popcorn bowl on the ground, and splashing LJ in the hot tub.
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  • Also, the picture used as Lara Jean’s phone background at the end of the movie was completely candid. Noah and Lana actually fell asleep like that waiting in the green room on set and a crew member snap the pic.
  • Lastly, I really appreciated how Chris was a better friend to Lara Jean in the movie, since she was her only friend really. In the book, her friendship is more a thing of convenience that real support. In the movie, Chris sticks up for LJ and has her back when ish goes down.

Some things I did not like:

  • The timing of the entire movies feels rushed. Its supposedly takes place over 3-4 months but it feels like two weeks. I feel that this could have been fixed by adding a montage of cute LJ/Peter moments as they grew closer. Which brings me to my next point…
  • The completely threw out the estate sale scene from the book, which is one of my favorites, and really shows the development from the awkward fake relationship to a real connection growing between the two.
  • Lara Jean’s heritage and her mother are a pillar to who she is a character, and in the movie, they hardly focus on any of that or how hard it has been on her.
    • Part of this storyline is that their mother was a Song girl, so her daughters wanted to be as well, and started calling themselves the Song Girls, not the Covey Girls
  • The casting of Josh bothers me only in that he and Peter K look ever similar when they are in the same scene. Also, they both dress relatively the same? Which I don’t understand. One is Mr. Popular, while the other is supposedly a “nerd.”
  • The casting of Janel Parrish as Margot. I don’t understand it. In the books LJ and Margo are supposed to look the most like their mother, but they don’t even look related. Also, Margot is supposed to be 18, and she looks like she’s 26-28. (This is a pet peeve of mine; when actors are cast into an age group they don’t look like they’ve been in for 10 years. (Like Alec in the City of Bones movie.)
  • One last thing that has been bothering me is the use of half of the plot from P.S. I Still Love You (book #2). The thing about this isn’t so much that they did it, but that when people ask for a sequel, there will be nothing to give, unless they want to completely make up a storyline (like they did for the second Princess Diaries movie). The ending of the movie doesn’t set it up for a sequel like the book did, because they resolved the issues that occur in book 2.

Overall, I think it’s a cute movie that you’ll enjoy, if you haven’t read the book, or if you’re not a stickler for details like me. I think it’s a good beginning for diversity in casting of YA-targeted films, and I would really like to see more movies like it. Unfortunately, the differences bug me every time I watch it, but that won’t stop me from watching it a 4th time (or a 5th, or 6th or so on…).

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Tree’s Take:

I am hesitant to call this a movie review, because even though I had some issues with the film I still will be supporting it and telling everyone to watch it because I love Jenny Han (and the cast TBH) and want to support her. I also want to see more diversity in Romantic Comedies and more YA books being adapted into movies, so I will 100% be supportive of this film.  

I have seen the film three times (so far) and my thoughts have changed quite a bit since I watched it the first time. I had reread the books a few days before I watched the movie. So while I was watching the movie the first time every single difference between book and movie was extremely noticeable and a little annoying to me. 

The one critique of the film that lasted through all three viewings is the timing. It is rushed and as a result we are deprived of seeing the characters grow and develop together. Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship is super cute, but it lost some of the awkwardness that we see in the book. Thus, it feels a little too perfect. I get that they had to condense the book, but as a result we lost some of what makes this series unique. So much of the family dynamic are lost, we don’t see Lara Jean missing her sister and trying to hold her family together, even their Korean heritage was barely present. 

Just looking at the film; I loved the casting. When it was first announced I did not think I would like Noah Centineo as Peter, because he is not who I pictured as Peter. But, in the film he WAS PETER K. Also, he is very cute and my friends and I keep texting about him so it’s all good. Meanwhile, Lana Candor looks EXACTLY how I pictured Lara Jean and I love how she and Jenny hard core support and love each other. 

I loved how the film showed Lara Jean and Peter having those deep conversations about their parents that would have been easy to leave out. It gave their characters and their relationship some depth. Lana’s portrayal of LJ was spot on! Her little facial expressions and style was perfect. Kitty was also so much fun to see on screen, her feminist necklace was the perfect touch. 

Even though originally I had issues with this adaptation due to my recent reread, this is an adorable teen rom-com that I will re-watch over and over. I am also so glad it is getting so much love and praise. So many new people are being introduced to the series and honestly it is what Jenny deserves.

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xoxo, Bree & Tree 

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