Why do we revel in romance? Time and time again, we see films promoting cute dates, sheepish smiles and held hands. Even as this genre inches closer to becoming a guilty pleasure, we still let our hearts be warmed by its scenes.
It seems that screens are either bombarded with love, love and even more love *insert eye roll here* or hitting us with a literal heart attack.
Turning on Netflix, I felt that skepticism, too. I didn’t know if I wanted to suffer the cheesy lines and false representations of love that I had stumbled across on Netflix so many times before. However, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” left me aching for a special someone’s touch and that childhood ideal of love. Why do we revel in love? It is movies like this that remind us of the warmth we feel when we are connected to someone else even if there are boundaries set in place.
“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” wasn’t a tragedy or an unrealistic sex-crazed “romp-ance.” It made me feel joy about the idea of love, something that has been twisted continuously in movies today. No toxic obsession of a partner, just an odd encounter and laughable fate that brought two lovebirds together.
The romance felt real. It was enjoyable. It was happy. Yet, there was something else about this Netflix film. It was an empowering relief from some of their other fails (think back to the many flaws of “Insatiable”).
The main character, Lara Jean Covey, is played by Asian-American actress, Lana Condor and in the time of Hollywood’s eye-opening feedback about diversity, it feels much needed—for several reasons. Not only did they fill this role with an Asian-American character, they made her relatable with no odd, unnecessary stereotypes or over-emphasis of her culture. They allowed the character to be herself. No whitewashing or odd caricatures—just purely Lara Jean.
Wrapped with the romance of Noah Centineo’s character, Peter Kavinsky, we are presented with a movie waiting for the sound of popping popcorn and the giggles among friends. I waited for the tragic end of their relationship and although they suffered a bump, there was no unrealistic end or ridiculous heartbreak. The roller coaster was not too rough and the bumps we suffered led to a more satisfying ending.
I welcomed the tears and the happy relief, and my heart did not push back. I let the memories of my own crushes and feelings of mutual admiration come to mind. When the credits rolled, I turned to my girls and smiled, thankful to have been taken back to a similar place—where my heart still held onto the romances from movies such as Twilight, Hunger Games and Fault in Our Stars.