When I heard To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was going to be made into a Netflix movie, my first thought was something along the lines of, “I need to get my act together and read this damn book.
Well, I did that—and now it’s time to watch the movie.
Oh, and this won’t be a spoiler-free review—if you haven’t seen the movie yet, leave now.
I think the movie was pretty faithful to the spirit of the book, if not the overall storyline. They changed a few details out of necessity—the plot was more streamlined to focus more on Peter and Lara Jean’s relationship. One of the downsides of film is there isn’t enough time to explore all the relationships between the characters and nuances behind their actions.
The casting choices were completely spot-on. Lana Condor is a perfect Lara Jean, and Margot and Kitty are just as I pictured them in my head. John Corbett was a surprising choice for me—when I first saw him on the screen, I thought he would be too much of a laid-back surfer dude for Dr. Covey. But he brought a sweetness and earnestness to him that I wasn’t expecting, and he ended up being the perfect choice.
As for Lara Jean’s love interests, I really liked Noah Centineo as Peter Kavinsky. I must say, I developed a bit of a crush on him as I watched—he reminded me of Mark Ruffalo. (Comment down below if you thought that too!)
Josh Sanderson was a bit of a disappointment for me. Israel Broussard did a fine job playing him, but he had a much smaller role in the film. I really wished there was more opportunity to explore Lara Jean’s growth through her relationship with Josh, but I understand there’s only so much plot you can shove into a movie before it becomes too much.
I think I would have enjoyed the first viewing more if I wasn’t constantly comparing it to the book. Of course Jenny Han’s novel is much better than the film really could be, but it’s still one of the best teen coming-of-age stories to come out in the last few years. I’m so happy it wasn’t white-washed—the film tells a truly realistic story of growing up and finding love.
Overall, I really enjoyed the film and I’d like to see it again—but only if I haven’t read the book first.