Netflix's To All The Boys I've Loved Before just hit the streaming service, and has been earning strong reviews for the unconventional movie platform. The flick is based on a popular Young Adult book written by Jenny Han, and features a young half-Korean woman, Lara Jean, deal with some drama and love interests after some letters she has written to young men make their way out into the universe. Although some changes have been made between the book and movie, one thing that has stayed the same is that both of Lara Jean's potential suitors are all non-asian. Now, author Jenny Han has shared her thoughts about why the movie has no young Asian men in it. She said:
I understand the frustration and I share that frustration of wanting to see more Asian-American men in media. For this, all I can say is this is the story that I wrote.
Speaking to Indiewire, Jenny Han revealed that she wrote the story in the way she did and that Netflix and the creative team behind the movie strove to tell the story in the best way possible, while trying to stay true to the nature of what Han wrote. The quote comes as diversity in the movies becomes more of a hot button topic. In particular, Netflix's To All The Boys I've Loved Before has hit audiences around the same time as Crazy Rich Asians, which has made headlines for its diverse cast, but has faced its own criticisms regarding casting from people online, as well.
In the book and the movie, Jenny has written five letters to boys she has previously had crushes on, including Josh Sanderson, Peter Kavinsky, John Ambrose McClaren, Kenny Donati, and Lucas Krapf. Their races aren't listed in the books specifically, but their names are European-oriented. The movie, directed by Susan Johnson, did hire a black actor, Trezzo Mahoro, to play Lucas Krapf, who ends up being gay and definitely not interested in Lara Jean. The other actors playing Lara Jean's potential love interests are white young men.
Despite the above criticism of the cute rom-com, To All The Boys I've Loved Before is getting good reviews, and there are other reasons to watch the flick, beyond the fact that it's enjoyable.In fact, Lara Jean has lost her mother, and trying to form a close relationships after suffering from grief is also a subject the movie tackles. It's still early days to tell whether or not the subscription streaming service will sign on to make movies based on the other two sequels in Jenny Han's trilogy; however, even if To All The Boys I've Loved Before remains a standalone, it's done pretty well for itself, gaining notice in a month that is not known for its huge movie releases. To see what else is heading to the streaming service in the coming months, take a look at our premiere schedule.