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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Works for One Simple Reason

If you were lovestruck in high school, To All the Boys I've Loved Before is going to get you ... hard.

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Spoilers for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

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You may have seen that there’s suddenly a ton of chatter about To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. The Netflix romantic comedy’s initial trailer made it seem like I was going to cry my eyes out and remember what it felt like to be in high school. Well, that’s exactly what happened—and beyond flashing back to my own experiences, I saw a lot of myself in the main character, Lara Jean.

Unlike a lot of teen movies, this one just hits in a way that makes you think back to school and relive the crushes and the unique drama that high school generated. Lara Jean, whose issues of commitment and admitting her feelings may seem childish to some older viewers, strikes me as one of the most complex romantic leads to date. She’s a nuanced character who feels particularly familiar because we can remember what it felt like to be a Lara Jean.

Sure, we’re all obsessed with Peter Kavinsky and his seemingly perfect boyfriend material self, but Lara Jean takes the cake. In a reverse from many high school set-romances in movies past, Lara gets to play more of a flawed character: all too often, the girl is perfect and out of reach, the one that the guy has to “win” by the end of the movie.

When Lara Jean finds out that she was wrong about Peter the entire time, it’s her turn to perform a grand romantic gesture to win him back (even if it just means going to find him at lacrosse practice). To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is an incredible look at the psyche of a realistic high school girl, much like Sixteen Candles was in the 1980s (which is why the movie references it quite a few times).

I think that a big reason many of us fast became obsessed with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is because a lot of us were Lara Jean. If I had a sister or a friend who would have just gone up to my crush and told them what was going on, maybe my high school (and even college) experiences would have been different.

We all have a little bit of Lara Jean in us, and it is one of the main reasons we are already rewatching the movie over and over again. That and Peter Kavinsky drives across town to get Lara Jean her favorite yogurt drink, which is the very definition of #couplegoals.

(image: Netflix)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.