To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) Dir. Susan Johnson
After all the hype surrounding The Kissing Booth, Netflix’s prior Young Adult adaptation from a Wattpad novel, all eyes were on To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and for good reason. I love this film with all my heart. It just fills me happiness! (and I might have a mild crush on Peter Kavinsky) The film, an adaptation of the novel of the same name, follows Lara Jean Covey, a quirky and shy half-Korean teen, as she creates a fake relationship with King of the Cafeteria, Peter Kavinsky, after her five private love letters are revealed.
The whole premise is a little extreme in theory, but the film makes it seem relatable and grounded. What’s amazing is that that teenagers actually act like teens. I swear, there’s a plague of terrible high school representation. I’d say the only far fetched character would be Gen, Lara Jean’s ex-best friend and Peter’s ex-girlfriend. She acts a little too much like a movie-mean-girl, going a little above and beyond what a real-world-mean girl would. It’s almost like she knows in a movie. Also, as much as I adore Peter Kavinsky, the boy who plays him, Noah Centineo, is overacting just slightly and it takes away from the film occasionally. Only because Lana Candor (Lara Jean) is acting brilliantly beside him. I mean, it’s not totally terrible, but he’s not getting an Oscar anytime soon.
Other than the actual story and characters, the film looks absolute fantastic. The sets and wardrobe choices fit well for all characters and modern times. Camera movements are cute and quirky, typically involving a lot of quick pans, but it works because the entire film is a little quirky. Not to mention the interesting shot composition. Rather than being placed on one of the thirds, characters are placed front and center, specifically Lara Jean. Also, during a quick little argument between the couple, they were divided across the screen by a door frame. It’s truly the little things that can make a scene.
Also, everything has this whole ‘orange and teal’ vibe, but not just in color correcting, but in the whole mis en scene. Lara Jean is typically dressed in warm shades such as yellow, pink, or red while Peter is dressed in typically cold, darker colors like blue and black.
However, it is not just the outfits, but the background and lighting. Within the background in sets, there are yellow and blue pillows or walls, along with warmer lighting. The whole ‘orange and teal’ coloring makes the film seem slightly more cinematic, as the colors are direct contrasts of each other. In sense of color psychology, ‘orange and teal’ is seen a lot throughout films to make shots pop, since skin tones all fall within the orange shade of the color wheel and the contrast of blue makes it pop. The way To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before uses the coloring is in subtle, yet obvious ways that I only fully realized on my second viewing.
Overall, it’s a pretty enjoyable and well made film. I’ve already seen it twice and I’m still amazed at how much better it is than I originally thought. I figured it would be yet another over dramatic AwesomenessTV production with bad acting and Jake Paul for some reason or another, but the film actually has heart and says some pretty introspective stuff about love, and not in a cheesy way either. Which I think is nice for younger boys and girls to hear before they entire serious relationships, so they can actually take seriously. So clearly I say stream this movie.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is available for streaming on Netflix.