To All The Boys I Loved Before Review

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is infecting women of all ages with butterflies and infectious smiles. This film accomplishes more than putting an Asian woman protagonist in the leading role. Similar to the way Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade leaves audiences reeling after realizing, transitioning at any point of your life is painful. While dealing with the reality that you have not become the version of yourself, a younger you expected you to be. But somehow we use that to motivate us. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before particularly shows how important it is to be seen for who you’ve always been. There should not have to be a large transformation of weight loss (Insatiable), revenge (Jennifer’s Body, Easy A), or a makeover (She’s All That, Princess Diaries, Clueless). We have been waiting for a rom-com in the lighthearted, empowering realm of Amanda Bynes teen comedies from the early 2000’s. At the end of the day, Lara Jean is not changing herself but venturing into the unknown, for the contract promises of her fake relationship with Peter (someone who becomes attracted to her because he sees her how she sees herself), but also to uncover the facets of her identity. Even her father says, her new social habits have brought out a side of her he’s never seen before. At the New Year’s Eve dining scene, he even says that he is so happy that Peter was able to bring out a side of her that she previously only revealed to her family. That’s the goal for an introvert like Lara Jean. Although, introverts are satisfied and recharged after being alone, when they let their hair down instead of up, they want to know someone else sees them. Their little quirks. Their favorite things. Their cultural identifiers like Korean smoothies and driving anxiety.
Lara Jean has a controlled cultural identity and stereotypes aren’t part of her world. At one point in the movie, Lara Jean is watching Sixteen Candles with Peter, the least annoying lax bro to ever exist and her kid sister, Kitty. They point out how Long Duk Dong’s character is racist and how woke we are in 2018.The inclusion of a gay, black male character, Lucas, also exemplifies being seen how one wants to be seen and not have to live a fantasy. One facet of the Asian-American identity that would have been nice to have been included in the film is if one of her suitors was an Asian boy. Asian males in America are seen as weak and that is due to the media and the lack of visibility of those relationships. One of Ali Wong’s opening jokes for her Baby Cobra Netflix special is, “I heard a rumor that all of the Asians in this city have congregated in this theater tonight. Thank you for coming with your white boyfriends.” As mixed race relationships become more prevalent in America, it is important that efforts are made to invalidate stereotypes. Since Crazy Rich Asians came out the same weekend, maybe the argument isn’t even valid since two respective Asian-American female experiences were released the same weekend. The power of having many perspectives is you don’t have to rely on one film to cover all experiences or to make you feel seen. Screen Shot 2019-02-15 at 8.32.13 PM.png

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