Netflix keeps on churning out romantic comedies, and we’re not complaining.
On Friday, the streaming giant released “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” which stars Lana Condor (“X-Men: Apocalypse”) as Lara Jean Song Covey, a 16-year-old girl who copes with “intense” crushes by writing love letters she never plans to send out.
Spoiler alert: All five letters wind up getting mailed out, and Lara Jean is forced to confront her feelings. In an effort to undo some of the damage, Lara Jean makes a classic rom-com move and pretends to date Peter (Noah Centineo) — a longtime classmate and one of her letter subjects — who has a motive of his own: making his ex-girlfriend jealous.
The movie and its lead actors, in particular, are generating a lot of buzz. Here’s everything you should know about Netflix’s “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.”
It’s based on a book.
“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” is adapted from Jenny Han’s YA novel of the same name. Published in 2014, Han’s novel became a New York Times bestseller and led to the well-reviewed sequel: “P.S. I Still Love You.”
It’s getting rave reviews.
The movie, directed by Susan Johnson, currently holds a 94 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Vox called it “an unabashedly sweet movie” and says it “might be the best teen romance of the decade.” Vulture dubbed it a “sweet and savvy film.”
The lead character is Asian American. That’s a big deal.
Lara Jean is Korean American, and also biracial (her white father is played by “Sex and the City’s” John Corbett).
Condor told Teen Vogue that she was “beyond thrilled” that the audition logline specifically referenced Lara Jean as an “Asian-American love interest.”
That was no small feat, as Han recalled in an op-ed for the New York Times. Han wrote that there was interest in adapting her novel even before it was released, but that “the interest died as soon as I made it clear the lead had to be Asian-American.”
“One producer said to me, as long as the actress captures the spirit of the character, age and race don’t matter,” Han wrote. “I said, well, her spirit is Asian-American. That was the end of that.” Ultimately, Han said she ended up working with “the only production company that agreed the main character would be played by an Asian actress.”
Lara Jean isn’t the film’s only Asian American character, either. She has two sisters, Margot and Kitty, played respectively by Janel Parrish (of “Pretty Little Liars” fame) and Anna Cathcart (of Disney’s “Descendants” franchise).
That said, the movie is getting some backlash because none of Lara Jean’s love interests are Asian. Han addressed the criticism in an interview with IndieWire.
“I understand the frustration and I share that frustration of wanting to see more Asian-American men in media,” she told the site. “For this, all I can say is this is the story that I wrote.”
Keep an eye on Lana Condor and Noah Centineo.
Two of the films stars, in particular — Condor and Centineo — are being praised for their performances.
Vulture’s Emily Yoshida wrote, “Condor is a ready-made star, and Centineo rises to meet her, the adoring, throaty lunk any introverted teen dreams of coming around and melting away her shyness.”
Johnson recently told The Washington Post that Centineo is “the Tom Hanks” of his generation, and added that “he seems much older than his years and much younger in some ways.”
Centineo will take center stage in another Netflix rom-com, “Sierra Burgess Is a Loser,” which stars Shannon Purser (that’s Barb from “Stranger Things”) and is scheduled to be released on Sept. 7.
Condor, meanwhile, has a supporting role in “Alita: Battle Angel,” which hits theaters in December. It’s an action film directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron, who also co-wrote the screenplay. She’s also set to star in Syfy’s upcoming thriller “Deadly Class.”
Lisa Bonos contributed to this report.