To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

To All the Boys I've Loved Before poster

A teenage girl’s secret love letters are exposed and wreak havoc on her love life.

It is the first installment in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before film series and followed by two sequels, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You and To All the Boys: Always and Forever, Lara Jean, with the first released on February 12, 2020.

SHORT VERSION

Lara Jean Covey is a romantic high schooler who keeps letters written to five boys that she has had strong feelings for. Her younger sister Kitty gets a hold of them and sends them out. One of them is her sister Margot’s now ex-boyfriend Josh, who was always friends with Lara Jean, as well as her former friend Gen’s current boyfriend Peter Kavinsky. After Peter and Gen break up, he and Lara Jean get into a fake relationship so Peter can get Gen back and Lara Jean can end up with Josh.

Over a few months, the two fool everyone with their relationship, but also end up developing genuine feelings for one another. Things get bad after a ski trip when Gen posts a video of Lara Jean and Peter kissing in a hot tub to slut-shame her, as well as when Margot visits for the holidays and finds out Lara Jean was in love with Josh while pretending to date Peter. Kitty also admits to Lara Jean that she sent out the letters, but only to get her out of her shell.

Lara Jean reconciles with Josh as friends and then pursues a real relationship with Peter.

MEDIUM VERSION

High school junior Lara Jean Covey writes letters to boys she feels an intense passion for before locking the letters away in her closet. Her latest letter is to her childhood friend Josh, who is dating her older sister Margot. When Margot moves to college, she breaks up with Josh. Lara Jean has always had a crush on Josh and has to decide if it would be okay to date him.

One night, while hanging out with her little sister, Kitty, Lara Jean falls asleep on the couch, allowing Kitty to sneak into Lara Jean’s room and find her collection of letters. The following Monday at school, Lara Jean is confronted by a former crush of hers, Peter Kavinsky. Peter reveals he was mailed his letter, causing Lara Jean to faint. After waking up, she sees Josh approaching with a letter of his own, and in a moment of panic, Lara Jean kisses Peter on the school track to throw Josh off before running off.

Lara Jean then encounters another recipient of a letter, Lucas, who comes out as gay as she realizes all the letters have been mailed. She then explains to Peter she was merely causing Josh to think she lost interest in him. Peter is surprisingly okay with this, and proposes he and Lara Jean fake date each other to make his ex-girlfriend (Lara Jean’s ex-best friend and current #1 rival) Gen jealous. She agrees, and the next few months go by with the whole school, along with their respective friends and families, believing the lie.

However, when Peter finds Gen actually jealous, he finds himself conflicted on his true feelings. Meanwhile, Lara Jean finds herself jealous at the two. Eventually, the two go on the school ski trip together, where they confront each other about their true feelings. They proceed to kiss while alone in a hot tub. After the trip ends, Gen confronts Lara Jean, revealing Peter spent the night in her room after they kissed and taunting Lara Jean by showing her a scrunchie Peter let her take, that was actually Lara Jean’s favorite. Furious, Lara Jean breaks up with Peter and storms home, where she finds Margot has returned home from college. Peter then comes to her house, hoping to explain that nothing happened between him and Gen, but Josh arrives as well. Margot overhears everything, and is visibly upset when she learns of Lara Jean’s former feelings for Josh. Things are worsened when after Lara Jean asks Peter to leave, she sees that a video of her and Peter in the hot tub has been put up on Instagram, seemingly showing the two in a sexual act.

Lara Jean asks for Margot’s help, who calms down and comforts her sister. Kitty then reveals she was the one who sent the letters. While Lara Jean is enraged, Margot calms her down when she asks why the letters had addresses on them. Lara Jean realizes she may have wanted to send them but was too afraid to do so, and the sisters forgive each other before emailing Instagram to get the video taken down.

After Christmas break, Lara Jean discovers everyone knows about the video anyway, while Peter tries to tell everyone that nothing happened. Lara Jean confronts Gen about the video, who reveals she tried to sabotage their relationship as she felt betrayed when Lara Jean kissed Peter during spin the bottle at a seventh grade party. After talking with her dad and reevaluating the relationships in her life, Lara Jean talks to Josh, who agrees to be friends again. When she hesitates to go to Peter despite having real feelings, Kitty pushes her to do so. Lara Jean goes to see Peter, and he tells her he is in love with her. The two kiss before walking off together.

In a mid-credits scene, a recipient, John Ambrose McClaren, of another of the five Lara Jean’s letters arrives at her door with flowers in hand.

LONG VERSION

The film opens with Lara Jean Song-Covey (Lana Condor) imagining herself in a romantic setting where she approaches her longtime friend Josh Sanderson (Israel Broussard) in a field before Lara Jean’s younger sister Kitty (Anna Cathcart) comes to snap her out of it and go hang out with her.

Lara Jean lives with Kitty, their older sister Margot (Janel Parrish), and their widowed father, Dan (John Corbett). Josh is dating Margot, who is set to go to Scotland before college. This leads to the two of them breaking up later, since their mother told them she shouldn’t have a boyfriend before starting college. Through narration, Lara Jean says that she and Josh were close friends even before he dated Margot. She had written him a love letter to express her true feelings, but kept it in a box given to her by her late mother. Lara Jean had written five letters to five different boys: Josh, a boy named Kenny from camp, Peter from 7th grade, Lucas from homecoming, and John Ambrose from Model UN.

The family drops Margot off at the airport, with Lara Jean noticing how sad Josh is about the break-up. She starts 11th grade while Kitty begins 6th grade come September. When Lara Jean gets to school, she bumps into Genevieve (Emilija Baranac), her former middle school best friend who now resents her after Gen became popular. Lara Jean’s new best friend is Gen’s cousin Christine (Madeleine Arthur), who thinks Gen is snotty and pretentious. Gen’s boyfriend is Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), the boy from 7th grade whom Lara Jean had a crush on after they kissed during a game of Spin The Bottle. When she can’t find Chris at lunch, Lara Jean goes outside by the bleachers to hang out with Josh.

Lara Jean later picks up Kitty from school but almost backs up into Peter on the way out. He is forgiving, but she feels awkward about it. Later, the sisters hang out at home watching “Golden Girls”, where Kitty thinks Lara Jean should be out having more of a social life. When Lara Jean isn’t looking, Kitty goes into her room and finds the box of letters.

During a track run the next day, Peter approaches Lara Jean with the letter she wrote him. To her horror, she sees Josh walking up with the one she wrote for him as well. Lara Jean falls to the ground and impulsively kisses Peter to get him away before she runs off to the bathroom. Lucas (Trezzo Mahoro) enters with his own letter, and while he is appreciative of it, he points out to Lara Jean that he is gay.

Lara Jean later goes home in a panic, and Josh attempts to talk to her at home. She sneaks out her bedroom window and rides her bike to a nearby cafe, only to find Peter there as well. He tells her that he and Gen broke up after she found out that Lara Jean kissed him. She explains the letters to him and says she has stronger feelings for Josh. After giving her a ride home, Peter suggests that they pretend to be a couple to get more attention from Josh and Gen. Lara Jean is reluctant at first but then goes to him the next day to come up with a contract for the conditions of their new fake relationship.

Peter starts by making a good impression on Kitty when he drives her and Lara Jean to school. He later goes to pick up Lara Jean for a party, where she meets his friends but also finds Gen there, already making smarmy comments about their relationship. She corners Peter in the bathroom later and takes Lara Jean’s favorite scrunchie that she had let him hold onto, while Lara Jean hangs out with Lucas. She and Peter leave the party and go to the cafe where they talk about personal things, like how Peter’s father left him and his family when he was young, and how he now has a new wife and child.

Over the next few months, Lara Jean and Peter manage to fool everyone into thinking they are a real couple. However, it puts a strain on her friendship with Josh, as she appears to have been avoiding him, and she hasn’t even told Margot that she is with Peter. Lara Jean later goes to Peter’s house for dinner where she meets his mother and younger brother. Mrs. Kavinsky accidentally refers to Lara Jean’s mom despite Peter having told her that she had passed away, for which his mom is instantly remorseful. Peter later mentions to Lara Jean that he’s glad his dad is gone, but she thinks that just because he’s angry at him doesn’t mean he doesn’t miss him.

While having lunch with Chris under the bleachers, Lara Jean overhears Peter and Gen talking about the upcoming ski trip and her expressing jealousy over him being with Lara Jean. She confronts Peter about this afterwards, especially after he sees her talking to Josh about it. This leads Lara Jean to realize she might be starting to develop true feelings for Peter.

The class later goes on the ski trip. Peter is sitting in the hot tub, and Lara Jean goes to join him. After some chatting, they start to make out. When the class returns from the trip, Gen gives Lara Jean her scrunchie, making it look like Peter deliberately gave it to her. When Peter tries to talk to her about it, she just leaves him.

At home, Lara Jean is surprised to find Margot there for a visit. They have dinner with Kitty and their dad, only for things to go south when Peter shows up trying to explain himself to Lara Jean. To make things worse, Josh shows up, which leads to Margot finding out that Lara Jean was in love with him AND that she’s been going out with Peter. Margot goes to her room upset after the guys both leave. On top of all that, Lara Jean receives a text showing that someone took a video of her and Peter in the hot tub, making it look like a sex tape when all they did was kiss. Lara Jean manages to explain her situation to Margot. When Kitty confesses to Lara Jean that she’s the one who sent out the letters, Lara Jean tries to attack her sister, but Kitty defends herself by saying that she did it to help Lara Jean come out of her shell. Lara Jean forgives her.

At school, Lara Jean finds her locker defaced with a picture from the video. She knows it was Gen who did it, and Peter tells everyone in the hall that he will fight anyone who says anything bad about Lara Jean. She confronts Gen in the bathroom over the video, and while she denies it, she admits to antagonizing Lara Jean for kissing Peter during Spin The Bottle when she knew that Gen had liked him since then.

Margot goes back to school, and Lara Jean is once again left with Kitty and their dad. She talks to both of them over her relationships and decides to make things right. She talks to Josh, and they reconcile their friendship. Later, Lara Jean approaches Peter during one of his lacrosse practices, and they make up, deciding to make their relationship real. They kiss and walk off.

Midway through the credits, another one of Lara Jean’s former crushes, John Ambrose McClaren, shows up at her door with his letter and a bouquet of flowers.

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