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  • Writer's pictureKayla W.

"To All the Boys I've Loved Before" and the Future of asian representation in film

Updated: Oct 23, 2020

August 5, 2018

A romantic comedy about a girl whose love letters about all of her crushes get sent out to all five of them sounds like an interesting film. A romantic comedy about an asian girl who doesn’t get stereotyped, that’s a dream come true. “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” is a Netflix original film that comes out this month, it’s based on the book with the same title by Jenny Han. When I saw the teaser, the trailer hadn’t even come out yet, I freaked out! After watching it for the first time, I watched it again...and again and again. Not knowing what to do with all my excitement I texted my mom and any of my friends that would listen about this film coming out. I am Chinese and although this film is about a half-Korean girl, I think that any asian representation is important and should be noticed, Having people of color in roles that aren’t stereotypical hasn’t been normalized in our society. For a big media company like Netflix to produce a film like this one is phenomenal.

I read the book and I’ve seen the trailer, this story doesn’t have an asian protagonist because her race is supposed to be an important part of the story. This film’s lead is telling a story that gives you all the #feels. Also the actress is actually asian and not just some white woman pretending she can pull off “being” asian in a film. For rom-coms especially the leading lady is usually likely to be some slightly different version of the same white girl. I cannot think of any other rom-coms with an asian lead, besides this film. I’ve always tried to be critical of the media I consume, but I had never stopped to think about specific genres in which minorities are being immensely misrepresented. In fact, I can’t think of any rom-coms besides this one with a poc as the lead. That’s how messed up our media is today. The probability of representation of minorities in Hollywood changing drastically for the better isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Nevertheless, this film gives me hope that if a woc can play the lead in a rom-com then change is possible in the future. Not only is this film exciting to me for the story and asian representation, the director of this film is female! There are so few female directors that are given the opportunity to direct big films. Just last year women made up only 11% of directors in 2017 according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film. This film has so many good things going for it, I can’t wait to see it when it comes out on August 17. I’m so excited for this film and I’m definitely glad that #thelettersareout.

-kayla w.

P.S Here's the link to the trailer:

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