To All the Boys I've Loved Before Reviews
Weaknesses: With a teen romantic comedy, we've kind of seen it all. It's nearly impossible to come up with something super original in this genre. This movie can't help but fall into the cliché pitfalls of the genre. You've got the expected character types and the beats all feel very familiar. There are many conversations between the characters that truly feel like they're just there to fill time. Not much in terms of big time character building and some of it feels generic.
Overall: It struggles to shake off the clichés of its genre, but the movie makes up for it with the cast and characters. It's a fun movie, with a heartwarming story that does just enough to make it stand out in the crowded field.
Overall, a fine teen romance.
Director Susan Johnson (Carrie Pilby) made a simple film, with a simple premise. Johnson placed an out of ordinary family (Asian American, very rarely seen in U.S Films) and presented a lead character that was not only completely appealing but would demand your love and affection.
Lana Condor (X-Men Apocalypse), playing Lara Jean, exudes appeal from both males and females alike. Attention will immediately draw to her as she steps on screen, like a sunflower amongst a sea of cheeseburgers. Her friendly demeanour mixed with her off-beat dialogue immediately attracts you to Lara Jean, or Lana Condor, I am still unsure.
It's a story based around Lara Jean only loving 5 boys in her life, and instead of telling them she would write letters and never send them out. Until one day, her little sister Kitty (Anna Cathcart, Descendants) decides that Lara Jean would have a better chance of getting a boyfriend if she sent them out behind her back.
After finding out that the letters of mass destruction were sent out, Lara Jean becomes mortified, especially when finding out that one of her secreted letters was sent out to her older sister Margot's (Janel Parrish, Pretty Little Liars) ex-boyfriend Josh (Israel Broussard, The Bling Ring).
In order from stopping an awkward conversation with Josh, and not letting her sister, who now lives overseas, from finding out, she organises a quid pro quo with another fellow letter recipient Peter (Noah Centineo, The Fosters). This exchange was based upon the idea that they become a fake couple, which to the audience makes enough sense to be reputable but also seems a little bit of the stretch.
The ending will play out as you expect but it still doesn't make it any less fulfilling, especially due to the Lana Condor performance.
This is not to diminish the value of the outlying characters; from the strong older sister Margot, to the compassionate and caring Father (John Corbet, My Big Fat Greek Wedding), to the charismatic little sister Kitty. Even the male leads, Josh and Peter, were something to be desired. But as soon as Lara Jean walked into picture they were simply outliers in a Lara Centric film.
Thus a quick glance over this film can easily be disposed of rather quickly. Writer Sofia Alvarez (Man Seeking Woman), based on the novel by Jenny Han, poses story beats which are familiar and sequences which are bland but are brought into full colour as it leverages off its star and cannot be critiqued through negative eyes because of it.