Not loving this teen rom-com with all my heart

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By Ella Bloomingdale ’20

Have you been on Instagram lately? Snapchat? Twitter? Any form of social media? If you haven’t been living under a rock, you are aware of Peter Kavinsky, the lead character role in Netflix’s original movie “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before“, directed by Peter Kavinsky.. .This “Standard Popular Jock character,” played by Noah Centineo, is the sensitive romantic hero. After seeing these overwhelming posts and tweets about Hollywood’s new sensation, I was intrigued by the social media chatter.

I decided that, being a teenage girl, this movie would be right up my alley. Afterall, the premise of the film is that the protagonist Lara Jean Covey, played by Vietnamese-American actress Lana Condor, has crushes that are so overwhelming, she doesn’t even know what to do sometimes. Everyone can relate to that, right?

Lara Jean has had five secret crushes over the years, all of which she could never admit to the boys she loved. As a result of her fear of having a real relationship, Laura Jean writes each boy a love letter and then stashes them in a teal box in her closet where no one would find it.

That is until they are released by Lara Jean’s younger sister. Cue the awkward encounters, especially when one of the letters is addressed to the boy who was only recently broken up with by Laura Jean’s older sister.

Peter Kavinsky, another recipient of one of the five letters, lets Laura know he’s not interested. But in order to make Peter’s ex-girlfriend jealous and make sure Laura Jean’s sister knows she’s not after her boyfriend, the duo come up with a plan to fake a relationship.

But let’s not pretend we don’t know what will happen in the end. The hot popular lacrosse star falls for the shy girl who now realizes romance can be real. Predictable right? Right. And that’s the problem with this movie.

Unfortunately, it took only the first 20 minutes for me to realize that this movie wasn’t going to click for me.

It was obvious from the start what would happen, and it seemed like the directors did not care how they arrived at the romantic conclusion. There was no explanation for why boy-wonder Peter would suddenly fall in love with Laura Jean. There was no chemistry, no heart stopping moments, no development of the romance.

We are asked to believe that romance can blossom with no effort because it’s a true romantic Hollywood development. But the outcome is forced and the directors don’t seem to care enough to develop the relationship in an organic and believable way. And if the directors don’t care enough, why should viewers?

That said, the movie had its quirky and cute moments and has been popular among most viewers, earning four and a half stars on a Netflix. Perhaps the hopeful romantic theme and heart-warming ending is enough for rom-com addicts.

In my opinion, though, Hollywood needs to be careful not to burn out on the theme of quirky surprising romantic couples. Modern teens don’t necessarily buy into the tired old stereotypes of jocks and nerds, geeks and stars. Hopefully, filmmakers will be able to come up with a more realistic vision of teenage romance movies while still keeping the love alive.