The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday January 20th

Column: Why we all love 'To All the Boys I've Loved Before'

I hate to admit it, but my favorite movies are romantic comedies. Maybe it’s the swoon-worthy actors and dialogues. Or maybe they’re just a nice 90-minute break from the reality of love lives on college campuses. Whatever the reason, when Netflix released ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ last week, I made some popcorn and turned on what I thought would be another guilty pleasure rom-com.

I ended up watching it four more times and haven’t shut up about it since.

‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ took over my entire Twitter feed. Everyone is talking and posting about it. Netflix has released many rom-coms over the summer, but no movie captured our hearts quite like ‘To all the Boys’. 

It almost made me nostalgic for my high school days. That never happens.

In the movie, Lara Jean is a shy 16-year-old who shares a close bond with her sisters. She writes love letters when she has a crush and keeps them in a hidden box until one day, the letters get sent out and she’s forced to confront her feelings. Soon, she starts a fake relationship with one of the recipients, Peter Kavinsky, to make his ex-girlfriend jealous.

It’s a ridiculous plot that can only happen in a teenage rom-com, but there had to be a reason that, by my fifth viewing, I was still swooning over Peter Kavinsky driving across town to get Lara Jean’s favorite yogurt. 

‘To All the Boys’ is, at its core, a sweet movie. I felt like I was on a sugar rush after I watched it for the first time, and then considered writing letters to all my crushes starting from the fourth grade — I got over that quickly. Gone are the days of bad-boy rom-com heroes with a fear of commitment, instead the new generation’s rom-com hero is sensitive, respectful and a little bit goofy. Watching Lara Jean’s awkward interactions with her crushes was all of us in high school, and perhaps even now. 

With the release of ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ minorities are playing the leads in rom-coms instead of secondary characters. Teenagers of all types are beginning to get representation — and that’s a big deal. Netflix has reclaimed the rom-com, and managed to do it by shaping it after us instead of pulling from overdone rom-com tropes. 

Oh, and another reason to love ‘To all the Boys?’ Jenny Han, the author of the series, graduated from UNC with a B.F.A. Heel yeah.

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The Daily Tar Heel for December 1, 2021

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