What’s it like being a teenager? For anyone who has experienced the roller coaster years that are *drum roll* high school, the trending Netflix film original, ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’, made us feel a whole bouquet of emotions. It is so on point and relatable that it will make you nostalgic for your own funny, dramatic, angsty, awkward, and romantic teenage years. Showing both the highs and lows, the good times and the terrible.
Based on the New York Times best-selling novel by Jenny Han, the film adaptation received widespread recognition and positive reviews. If you’ve been lurking on the web for the past couple weeks, you probably browsed through the non-stop tweets, gifs, and posts of the lovebirds Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky, starring Lana Condor and Noah Centineo. This will surely remind you of your first crush, first love, first kiss, and first heartbreak–all the firsts of your adolescence.
Haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet? Well then, we’ll give you a round-up of our favorite scenes, lines, and quotes that might persuade you to set a date and time to lock yourself in your room, get cozy in bed, and open Netflix for this charming film.
This article contains some spoilers for To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, obviously.
“Rereading my letters reminds me of how powerful my emotions can be.”
This habit of Lara Jean, spilling her most intense feelings through words, imparts emotional honesty and transparency to her teenage years. She has been writing love letters since way back when out of fear of feelings and rejections comes her whole romanticization. Her letters come from a wonderful, wandering, but once private affair. Familiar? We’ve all been here. The first feelings that were entirely our own. How we cherished them so dearly we didn’t want to share.
Well, Lara Jean’s letters get all sent out, daring her to come to terms with it.
“I was used to being invisible, but now, people were looking at me,”
Oh, dear Lara Jean. The smarty pants, fashion icon, and she doesn’t even know it. She’s funny, cool, the best girl-friend one could have in high school kind. Her awkwardness completes the package. It’s easy to feel invisible and scrutinized in a crowd at the same time. And once you’ve actually got attention on yourself, it can be quite overwhelming-yet also satisfying. We need that validation from time to time.
“For someone who’s quiet all the time, you have a lot of opinions.”
We don’t have to talk about it, but it’s not whatever.
Peter Kavinsky, one of the boys who got the Lara Jean’s love letter, has spoken on our main girl. Adolescence is a strange time, hallways full of small talk, but carrying all the worries in the world. Lara Jean’s approach to relationships has something of a child-like sincerity charged with an adult intensity to verbalize the joy and despair. Their exchange throughout revolved around the theme of difficulties in speaking, putting into words, or just clearly defining and acknowledging one’s emotions to someone else, or to oneself.
“You can be mad at someone and still miss them.”
It’s actually really nice to have someone to talk about this stuff.
All families are dysfunctional to a certain extent. Love, loneliness, rage, elation, denial, and hope in family dynamics are some feelings that linger and accompany LJ and Peter’s stories, deeply associated with comfort rather than grief. Both are exploring the complexities of how we carry on with our lives, from the most turbulent to the most pleasant moments. Their journey of being lost and confused is typical of high school. It’s all valid, and it helps lighten the load to talk it out.
“I’ve never seen you so happy.”
In between all the dramas we go through, we always have that friend whose got our back no matter what. They’ve seen it all, the best and the worst, warts and all. This is Chris, obviously LJ’s best friend. Always cheering and rooting for her. With emotions and connections at its core, this scene brings to light how we experience life and our surroundings, pondering the interplay of happiness and identity. The everyday life routine of thriving, building, and bettering one another.
“God, you were never second best.”
Don’t we all ask the question: will we ever be enough? For someone, for something. Through time we’ll learn life’s not a competition. And this moment presents a snapshot of one’s exploration and discoveries on modern relationships, where Peter speaks of LJ, which captures the fascinating differences between how we perceive ourselves and how other people perceive us. Perhaps the goal has always been to grow and be easier to love.
“Okay, let’s make a pact. No more secrets between the Covey girls.”
Sure, the movie’s about teenage romance, but can we talk about the strong bond and overflowing care and support these sisters have? Margot the oldest mother-hen type, Lara Jean the middle teenager in crisis, and Kitty the youngest shit-stirrer. A significant highlight in the book and film, depicting the importance of sisterhood in families. The laughs and cries and fights and hugs.
“Seeing you come alive like that, you remind me of her. Just don’t hide that part of yourself, okay?”
Not all of us get that one-on-one sit-down talk with our dads, so here we have Dr. Covey giving advice to LJ, and probably to all the teens out there too. As cliché as it gets, we all wished our younger selves didn’t care as much and that we would have remained true to ourselves instead and embraced ourselves. The mundane human nature of finding beauty in the rawness of reality despite all limitations is the point of it all. Don’t hide it.
“No. This is a fight I have to handle myself.”
Predictable like any other films, we all know our main protagonist will come through at the end. But there’s another layer of satisfaction to see our Lara Jean, who used to literally run away from confrontation, standing up for herself. She’s always had that toughness in her. The same goes for all of us. Get out of the exaggerated reflection of ourselves, see who we really are, and make peace with it. We’ll be alright at the end of the fight.
“You’ve gotta tell people how you feel when you feel it. You can’t sit in your room writing letters you’re never gonna send.”
Before we end this, remember that first boy [space] friend, as Lara Jean would describe, she had growing up? We all have our Josh sometime in our lives. The best guy friend. It’s always special. A guy you have feelings for before the real thing, a guy you may lose someday without a fight. It’s a delicate relationship to have in your teenage, but like Josh, he may push you forward like no one else.
To conclude, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is a simple yet remarkable watch with great characters and beautiful metaphors. In a world full of art films and heavily driven plots, it’s almost therapeutic to go back and see a story about teenagers mmarvelingat the paths we’ve all been before. This is a lovely movie that talks about adolescence and all the dramas related to young people navigating to find their own places in society. Seen through families, friends, and romantic relationships in Lara Jean’s life. The impulsive decisions and feelings of the youthful mind, with a retrospective sense of teenage innocence. How effortless and undemanding.