Watch it! To All The Boys I've Loved Before

August 29, 2018


I cried so hard watching To All The Boys I've Loved Before on Netflix this week, a film based on the book by Jenny Han, which I haven't read yet but the trilogy is now on my to-read list.

I was embarrassed because it's such a sweet and funny TEEN movie so I didn't understand my feels. Why so emotional about a cute teen coming of age story? That night I went to bed still thinking about the film. The next morning I rewatched it because I'd enjoyed it so much the first time and also to see if I could figure out what about it intrigued me so.

I related to a film that had close to zero resemblance to any part of my life as a frumpy, grumpy, anti-social teenager. If anything, adult me is more like the lead character - I'm sensible yet emotionally naive and found myself in a 'second best / fake best' situation with a boy. But that's not why I loved the film so much.

As a tween I used to obsessively write fictional stories with teen girls as the lead characters. I have no idea if they were any good and they are all long gone because I wrote them on a typewriter and those pieces of paper were probably trashed by Dad Pham. He always threw out our homework as kids. I never realised until now that all of my fictional characters were white. That was all I read in books as a kid, that was all I knew. Representation is so important.

Watching To All The Boys I've Loved Before, I cried for younger me who would have admired and adored an Asian-American character like Lara Jean. I cried for what I missed out growing up, that feeling of belonging and acceptance. I cried because younger generations like my nieces will have books and films like this and realise they have a place in this world. They are not 'other', they are not invisible. I am so grateful to Jenny Han and Netflix and Lana Condor (who has Vietnamese heritage - woo)! Fingers crossed the other books in this series get adapted for film.

I'm going to see the movie Crazy Rich Asians on opening night with my (Not So) Single Ladies Valentine's Day Birthday posse. Wish me luck. I bet I'm going to cry like a baby.

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