A few weeks ago the Internet started blowing up with praises and reviews to ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ and I’m not going to lie I was cynical as hell about it. However, on a particularly rainy Thursday evening, I sat down with a bowl of popcorn and clicked play. I finally hopped on the bandwagon because I wanted to see what all the hype of was about and I was not disappointed.
A particular reviewer stated that the movie made her feel ‘warm and fuzzy’ on the inside. And there I was, a woman in her mid-twenties bawling her eyes out overwhelmed with emotions that didn’t particularly make sense. Yes, I felt warm and fuzzy but there was something larger than life there that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
So I watched it the second time around with a notepad and a pen because I was genuinely curious to try and understand why my 24-year-old self was obsessed with a teen rom-com. It didn’t make any sense because I was at a completely different phase in my life. I was past my awkward high-school brace face training bra phrase.
After exhausting the rewind and pause buttons on my Mac I figured it out.
The portrayal of Peter Kavinsky
Everything about his character from start to finish of the movie has every female mesmerized. Everything from his confused expression when Lara Jean kisses him on the track at the beginning of the movie to the way his nose scrunches up after he confesses that he loves her at the end of the movie, radiates maturity.
Throughout the course of the movie, Peter Kavinsky challenges the notion of what a teenage boy is meant to resemble. He portrays maturity when he trades his beer for Kombucha because he knows he will be driving and even sticks up for Lara Jean when her reputation is on the line due to the release of an intimate recording. When you compare Peter Kavinsky’s character to a character like Steve Stifler from American Pie who essentially makes it his mission to label every woman he sleeps with, it’s easy to see why Kavinsky is the epitome of your idealistic high school boyfriend.
I mean even the name Peter Kavinsky has to be addressed in full. His name essentially became a symbol two days after the movie’s release.
The representation of Lara Jean
It didn’t matter what type of person you were in high-school Lara Jean embodied all of us in one way or another. If you were a perfectionist, that is portrayed in the scene when she drafts a contractual agreement with Peter Kavinsky to ensure no boundaries are crossed. If you were slightly shy, that is portrayed in the scene when Peter Kavinsky’s friend cracks a joke that Lara Jean is clearly confused/awkward about as she tries to nail their secret handshake. If you were a hopeless romantic who experienced crushes larger than life and didn’t know what to do with them, they were depicted in the form of those five love letters.
In short, Lara Jean’s character is developed in a manner that shatters the image of a moody teenage girl and represented fragments of all us, growing up.
The authenticity that radiates from the characters
At the end of the day what makes a movie iconic is its ability to touch hearts and evoke a sense of familiarity in unexpected manners. And this movie did just that. The way the romance between the Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky is explored pulls at your heartstrings in a way that will take you back to a similar romance or as some viewers have stated ‘cuddles the shit out of your soul’. Their timeless romance fits perfectly against the backdrop of Lara Jean’s family. The fact that Lara Jean and her sisters are depicted as such fully developed characters, all of whom radiate empathy creating a strong and stable family bond surprises the viewers. Which as a result draws us in.
I watched this movie out of boredom but half an hour in I was hooked, it tugged at every emotion from the depths my soul, like therapy I didn’t know I needed. In a time where everything from the financial to the political climate is so unstable, I found a sense of peace and fell in love all over again. In a generation where swiping right with an eggplant emoji is considered dating, I felt hopeful again.
We won’t know if Covey broke Peter Kavinsky’s heart but he sure as hell broke mine.