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Emotional, relatable teenage romance movies on a rise

by Giovanna Brasolin

Romantic comedies have been making a comeback recently, especially with the release of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Kissing Booth on Netflix. Some may say that there’s nothing particularly unique about them but there are a few unpredictable moments and a plot twist that make the movies very engaging. The target audience seems to be more geared towards the younger age groups with the use of younger actors and actresses as opposed to previous movies. What supports that is the high school theme used in other recent movies such as Love, Simon and Alex Strangelove that have almost a fanfiction ring to it as everything is very ideal.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was directed by Susan Johnson, based on a book of the same title. It came out on Aug. 17, starring Noah Centineo and Lana Condor in a very heartwarming love story. Lara Jean Covey, a sixteen-year-old girl, is a hopeless romantic and likes writing love letters to all of her crushes as a way of saying goodbye and moving on from them. What she didn’t expect was that her letters would be found and mysteriously sent to all of the boys she ever wrote letters to. Upon receiving his letter, Peter Kavinsky, the most popular guy at her school, asks her to be his fake girlfriend to make his ex-girlfriend jealous and Lara Jean hesitantly accepts it, changing her life for good.

The Kissing Booth was directed and written by Vince Marcello, based on a novel by Beth Reekles with the same title. It came out on May 11, starring Joey King, Jacob Elordi and Joel Courtney in a story filled with friendship and romance. Elle Evans grew up as twins with her best friend, Lee Flynn, with whom she made a list of rules for their friendship. Having never been kissed, she ironically decides to run a kissing booth for her high school’s Carnival and suddenly finds herself kissing Lee’s older brother, Noah Flynn, her secret crush. By doing that, Elle broke one of the most important rules made with Lee which might put their friendship in jeopardy.

There are many reasons why To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Kissing Booth did an amazing job at appealing to both their target audience as well as other age groups. The main reason might be due to them having humor, romance, friendship and the ups and downs coming together to create a very interesting big picture that ended on a happy note.

“I think that a movie becomes popular for all age groups when there are characters of all age groups represented well,” said Madi Hook, a sophomore biology and pre-med major, “These movies showed adult characters and family members alongside the younger ones, making it relatable for older audiences.”

Having characters with the different ages makes a movie more relatable to a greater amount of people as they could see themselves experiencing similar situations in their daily lives.

What also helps with their popularity is the presence of good-looking actors and actresses alike as well as the realistic and yet idealistic feel to them. They’re very modern which makes it a lot more realistic than a movie set in the 80s or even the 90s. The family connection and the friendships presented in both movies is just admirable. Not everyone has such a great bond with their family as Lara Jean had with hers or with their best friend as Elle had with Lee. It makes people want to have similar relationships with the ones they love the most. The availability of movies is another great factor since we are living in a time in which less and less people go to the movies due to the cost. The content is accessible for everybody and can be watched as many times as they want on platforms like Netflix, HBO Now and Hulu.

Apart from the clichés, there are parts in the movies that make people reflect on certain events, leaving a great impression. “For romantic comedies, I think the most appealing factor is the end,” said Student Productions president, Anna Buccafuri, a junior international business and management major. “Whether the end leaves me thinking about it afterwards and makes me cry. I think when I cry, those are the movies I like the most because it makes me want to follow the story all the way through and it means that it almost left an effect on me.”

The movies show what matters the most to the protagonists as well as fights between them and their loved ones which is not only extremely realistic but also makes people feel like they are there experiencing the hurt. The more a movie touches their heart, the more inclined they are to enjoy it.

If To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Kissing Booth taught the audience anything, it was that even though it’s hard to tell the truth to people you care about, it could save you a lot of problems in the end.

In The Kissing Booth, Elle hides how she actually has a crush on Lee’s older brother which leads to some trouble. However, it also shows how your needs and wants are just as important as others and so, they should be taken into consideration. You shouldn’t be afraid to take risks or put yourself out there instead of idealizing what could have been. Both main characters were taken by surprise when they took risks, when Lara Jean decided to be Peter’s fake girlfriend and when Elle ran the kissing booth despite having never been kissed.

Whether or not movie directors have other works like these in the making for the near future, a great amount of people will already be waiting for another great movie. Fortunately, there have been rumors about a sequel of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before following Jenny Han’s trilogy. More romantic comedy movies have been coming out after a period of decline, stealing everyone’s heart. It’s good to have heart-warming movies like these to watch with friends, family or even alone. They make you look at some situations with a new pair of eyes and understand what really matters in life. Especially, when it comes to the difference between reality and imagination. Idealizing doesn’t take you anywhere, actions in real life do. It’s not talking about love but living in love that is everything.

Giovanna Brasolin can be reached at giovanna.brasolin@spartans.ut.edu

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