Last week, Netflix released To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and the internet has gone crazy over the sweeter-than-fiction love story and its charming cast. IMDb currently ranks it as the third most popular movie and Rotten Tomatoes has given it their ‘Certified Fresh’ stamp of approval, with a 95% approval rating.
The film is centered on Lara Jean Covey, a bright young woman who has a habit of writing secret love letters to her crushes. When these letters are somehow sent out she realizes she can no longer return to her quiet high school existence. Directed by Susa Johnson, the film is Netflix’s latest attempt in pushing out original content. It appears to be working for Netflix as the raving reviews keep rolling in. Vox claimed that the film “might be the best teen romance of the decade”, calling it “nearly perfect”. Vulture jumped in on the love and called the film “sweet and savvy.”
Many applaud the film for its diverse casting choices. The main character, played by Lana Condor (who has been referred to by Vulture as a “ready-made star”), is Asian. Jenny Han, the author of the original book by the same name, identifies as Korean-American. In an op-ed for the New York Times, Han discussed the difficulty of finding interest in adapting her story to film when she made it clear that the protagonist had to be Asian-American. Anna Cathcart and Janel Parrish, the two actresses who joined the cast to play Lara Jean’s sisters, are also Asian-American.
When choosing to move forward with the adaptation, Han found only one production company that would work with her requirements. The success of the film is leading to discussions of race in Hollywood. The film’s success is hard to ignore. On the topic of diverse casting in Hollywood, especially after the recent success of Crazy Rich Asians, Han had this to say in her New York Times op-ed.
“Because when you see someone who looks like you, it reveals what is possible. It’s not just maybe I could be an actress. It’s maybe I could be an astronaut, a fighter, a president. A writer. This is why it matters who is visible. It matters a lot. And for the girls of 2018, I want more. I want the whole world.”
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before may be due for more installments, as the original novel is the first in a trilogy.