This film is my guilty pleasure. I know it’s targeted to a YA audience but so was “The Hunger Games”, along with several other YA novels that were adapted to films, (enjoyed by many adults). Have teens grown up too fast and adults refused to grow up? Probably! Perhaps I can still enjoy watching a YA film because they usually focus on the sweetness of first love vs the jaded version of adult modern romance which seems to focus on: fetishes, polyamory, addictions, crimes and deception.
I haven’t read the Lara Jean books written by Jenny Han that inspired these films, but I’m proud that her stories, featuring a bi-racial, half-Korean heroine have become very popular. Finally, an Asian heroine is allowed to represent her unique experience, without being stereotyped or marginalized as a token, supporting “side kick” character. I liked all the actors in this film and thought they were perfectly cast, except for the casting of Lara Jean’s older sister, Margot. Although the actress that portrayed her was beautiful and she looked somewhat biracial, (I didn’t think she looked part- Asian). I thought she looked predominantly Italian/Latina, maybe passably Philippine. I wondered why she was selected, her presence threw off the illusion that the actors who portrayed the sisters were in the same family, but at least she wasn’t seen in the film very much. Now that I think about it, none of the daughter’s resembled their Caucasian father either.
While searching for images for this post, I found collaged images online labeled, Dream Cast- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. I like the cast choices in the first image below, but I’m so glad the actors in the second image weren’t chosen! If they had been I would’ve made a Seoul Sister Films, “Where are the Asians” movie trailer parody!
I grew up during the 80’s, and this film reminded me of that relatively innocent time. “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” recreated the John Hughes teen film genre very well, without stealing from it, (it wasn’t a fan fiction film like, “Stranger Things” which blatantly steals from classic 80s films), instead it added the romanticism of Jane Austen’s novels in my opinion. The film’s storyline has been done many times before, in many other films but “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” added more character development that kept the story interesting. I definitely want to see Part 2 and Part 3, it makes sense that they’d film them both together for momentum and continuity.
“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” Part 2 trailer looks cute, I wonder why the actor was changed who portrays the new love interest, John Ambrose McClaren, I think it was to add even more diversity, although this film has more diversity than most mainstream North American films. https://youtu.be/ZAKS9YtlnsU
They’re so adorable together but Lana Condor already has a boyfriend. Many compare Noah Centineo to actor, Mark Ruffalo, I agree with the comparison. https://youtu.be/qGP0FRGtfgA
I wish I had positive images of attractive Asians in films and media, when I was growing up. The film mentions, “Sixteen Candles” (the character, Lara Jean loves this film) but ironically in “Sixteen Candles” the only Asian character, Long Duck Dong was a blatantly stereotyped, foreign exchange student. Well at least the representation of Asians is improving ever so slowly. I actually wish Lara Jean was portrayed as being 100% Asian and not biracial, but as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.