**DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE FILM AND TO SOME EXTENT THE BOOK UPON WHICH IT WAS BASED, TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE BY JENNY HAN**
So, if you are anything like me, you’re obsessed with the film, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Based on the Jenny Han novel of the same name, the film, which can be found on Netflix, is a cute story about a girl and a guy who fall in love though neither expected it. It contains what all girls (and obviously, some guys) love about romantic comedies–cute guys who are misunderstood, mean girls, quirky girls, comic relief in the form of a sidekick or younger sibling (or in this case, both) and LOVE.
As a child of the 80s (okay, technically, I was born in 79 and proud of it), I grew up watching John Hughes films like Sixteen Candles, the Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Pretty in Pink. I mean, I kinda felt like I grew up in Shermer, Illinois, and I also thought high school would be like what I saw in these movies. Surprisingly, it wasn’t, but that didn’t keep a girl from dreaming and it also doesn’t keep a girl from wanting to remember that feeling when watching a new film.
I felt called to watch this movie after seeing several posts about it on my Facebook feed. Going in not knowing the plot and not expecting much, I was pleasantly surprised by how much the 80s seemed to play a role in this film. The reference to Sixteen Candles, the old school diner where they ate that seemed to only have 80s hits to play and the complete love and reverence for the films of yesteryear. The acting of Lana Condor and Noah Centineo as Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky, respectively, made this girl forget she’s damn near forty and wish she was back in high school with her own Peter Kavinsky. Still, the movie was not just a good way to spend a Friday night if you actually are a little like Lara Jean in your tendencies (guilty!), it actually has lessons that we could all be reminded of from time to time. Here are the 5 Things To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before teaches about life:
- Be You!!! – From the beginning, we see that Lara Jean has her own style and own way of being. She owns it and she doesn’t think twice about what she’s doing. Okay, like all of us, she requests confirmation that she’s on the right track with her shoe choices, but I love Chris’ answer to her that if she has to ask it ruins the whole vibe. She tells her to be cool and that is what we should do too. If you like what you are wearing, own it. If you love what you do, be proud. When you recognize your uniqueness and flaunt it, others will gravitate toward you because they will see that you are not afraid of being you, which in turn will help them not be afraid to be themselves too.
- Speak Your Truth – Again, we learn early on that Lara Jean speaks her truth, but it’s only into letters that she never plans on getting out. If she’d spoken up earlier, who knows who she would have been with. Though I think Lara Jean was right where she was meant to be, I also think Kitty was meant to get those letters out because it did result in Lara Jean ultimately making her true feelings known. I do think that the message of speaking your truth was one throughout the entire movie. It was obvious from very early on (I’d even dare say the first kiss on the track) that Peter liked Lara Jean. Maybe he thought that was the only way to get her to go out with him, maybe he truly intended on getting Genevieve back. Regardless, it would have been nice for him to let Lara Jean know his true feelings for her. Lara Jean is not off the hook either because she was falling for him after the party. Communication is key friends. Use your words and speak them to those you want to know.
- Try New Things – We cannot do the same things over and over and expect a different result. That’s the definition of insanity. As humans, our brains can easily become hardwired to get into a routine and do the same thing over and over. I, like Lara Jean, love a good Friday night in my jammies watching a movie with popcorn, but if I want to experience a life that is not that of a character on my television, I’m going to have to switch it up, and you do too. Get out, try something different, go somewhere different, and hang with some new people. When you start seeing what is out there, you will be happy you took the leap to do something different.
- It’s Okay to Be Vulnerable – Many of us feel that we have to put on a front for who we really are because by showing someone we are human, we are displaying weakness. It’s not weak to be vulnerable. It’s the strongest thing one can do. By showing someone that you are human, that you do hurt, they can, too, let down their barriers to show you who they truly are. Being vulnerable is not just about getting someone to be vulnerable with you. It’s about our first step of being you. We are human. We hurt, we love hard, and we sometimes enjoy a good cry. It’s healthy. Don’t deny your emotions or deny allowing someone to see you without your mask. You never know, they may be just like Peter and let down their guard too.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Open Up to Love – This is the biggest lesson of the movie. Lara Jean explains to Peter on their very first date that she is scared to date or fall in love because she is scared of people leaving like her mom. How many of us relate to this? I know I did. After countless heartbreaks, it can be tough to open yourself back up to love another. Sometimes, it feels safer to just be alone and swear off love. But that’s not what life is all about. In each one of my relationships, I’ve had some of the best times of my life, and if I’d never opened myself up to that, I would have never experienced those good times. Let me be clear that the good times ALWAYS outweigh the bad. It’s one of the reasons so many of us give second and third chances to people because we are remembering those good times. I digress though. We cannot let our past dictate our present. We can’t let fear of being hurt prevent us from opening up to another. We must open our hearts and allow love to flow in. If you want to hear more of me talking about this check out my video on the subject here. I also mention the movie.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my list of 5 Things that To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Teaches You About Life. Though I’m tempted to watch the film again for the 100th time, I’m actually going to try something different and actually take my own advice to speak my truth and be vulnerable!