Your typical high school comedy is usually filled with shallow uni-dimensional characters that neatly match up with stereotypical high school personas like the "jock" or the "popular girl."
These personas are often more familiar and comfortable to the viewer than they are relatable. You can predict exactly what they'll say next, and the story always unfolds as expected. These characters, although entertaining, don't actually reflect the reality of the high school experience and all the self-growth and exploration that comes along with it.
Then comes along a movie like To All The Boys I've Loved Before, that beautifully captures the complexity of your not-so-average teenager's developing identity and character.
The film follows a high school student Lara Jean as she navigates her way through her junior year of high school.
Lara Jean's school year gets off to a rough start when her little sister goes behind her back and mails out love letters that she wrote to five of her crushes over the years. Of course, the letters were written as a type of dairy and were never actually meant to be received by the objects of her affection.
The protagonist of the story is then hilariously forced to face "all the boys she's loved" and the complex and embarrassing emotions that come along with it.
Lara Jean isn't your typical female romantic comedy lead, though. Although played by beautiful and talented actress Lana Condor, the characters physical appearance is almost never mentioned in the film. Lara Jean is admired for her "style" rather than her superficial beauty or "hotness."
What also makes her character universally relatable is she doesn't embody any typical high school stereotypes. She is not the popular girl, neither is she the social outcast; she's just an average slightly awkward teenage girl with a messy room and a yearning to be loved and understood, just like everyone else.
Her character is half-Korean, but the fact that she is Asian is not depicted as being the most essential part of her identity either. The story is refreshingly free of racial stereotypes and chooses to focus more on the emotional struggles the character is going through after the loss of her mother.
As the story develops, a connection begins to build between Lara Jean and one of the recipients of her letters, the student body's resident stud Peter Kavinsky played by Noah Centineo, typically the last person you would picture Lara Jean dating.
I won't go too much into detail because that would only spoil the film! But let's just say this not-so-typical and genuinely joyful comedy will warm hearts and make everyone smile, boys, and girls alike.