One of my claims to fame, or should I say, totally bad taste in films, is that one of the only films I went to see more than once at the cinema is Love, Actually. I know, I know, I know I KNOW. I fucking know. I KNOW. I knooooooooooooooooooow. All the non-white characters could be replaced by a tablecloth and the plot of the film would not be altered one tiny bit! All the men are successful and old and all the women are slinky and young. There’s so much fat-shaming. There’s that weird sub-plot where that Laura Linney woman will never find love again because she is related to someone who is mentally ill, like I don’t even UNDERSTAND what is happening there, what is happening there, what is going on, what the fuck is fucking happening there, what is happening, what is literally happening, why doesn’t she say to Carl wait a min, I got to chat to my brother for a bit, he’s not well, once I get off the phone we will have sex. WHAT EXACTLY IS THE PROBLEM PEOPLE WHO HAVE RATS IN CAGES IN THEIR BEDROOMS HAVE SEX ALL THE TIME AND SOMETIMES THEY FEED THE RATS BEFORE THE SEX STARTS LIKE WHEN PEOPLE WANT SEX THEY’RE KIND OF OPEN-MINDED ABOUT STUFF IT’S KIND OF A RULE what the fuck is fucking happening. But yeah, I went to see it three times at the cinema. Weirdly, I always fancy Hugh Grant when not on British soil but as soon as I land back on British soil the class war enters my soul like a zäpfchen and I fucking hate his guts again. So I went to see Love, Actually, in the cinema, on my own, fell in love with Hugh Grant as PM, desperate to fuck Tiffany from Eastenders, etc, took my then-husband back to the pics to watch it in German, look, it was the early noughties, we watched films in Synchron then, we didn’t know any better, I watched Fight Club and thought Brad Pitt was meant to be a ghost, and then of course I has to go back back to the cinema to watch it alone im Original to like scrub the ugly (boring) German version out of my head.
All of this is to say: I AM A ROM-COM FAN. I like romantic comedies. On the way home from Tatsächlich Liebe, my German husband was really grumpy with me because he thought the film was a pile of crap. „Why did you like it?“ He schnaubed at me. „It was totally unglaubwürdig, all that stuff with the Prime Minister.“
„Ihre Liebe war gar nicht unglaubwürdig,“ I said. „Man sah Hugh Grant es an, dass er geil auf die Tee-Dame war.“ My ex sighed then. You can’t argue with LOVE and ROMANCE in a rational way sometimes.
I love rom-coms, but I haven’t loved a rom-com like I loved netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in YEARS. It is just such a good film. It is a perfect film. Rom-coms work best, and watch out, some people think this is sexist of me, and it is definitely heterocentrist and totally cis and non-queer and stuff, so sorry, but: rom-coms work best when a man teaches a woman some kind of skill (liking the opera in Pretty Woman, dancing in Dirty Dancing, being a tough spy in Knight and Day) and the woman teaches the man TO OPEN HIS HEART AND LET IN LOVE. Awwwww……sigh. I can feel my heart soften with joy and satisfaction and peace and a tiny bit of Aufregung just at the thought of it. But TATBILB is even better than that, because in this film, it’s the boy who teaches the girl to „love“, although what he is actually doing is teaching her how to engage in a performative „going steady“ type high school relationship. I’ll tell you the plot quickly: Lara Jean, super sweet, shy, a bit nerdy, has been writing secret love letters and storing them in a hat box. One day they all get sent out AAAAARGH….One of the recipients is, of course, the sexiest boy in the school, Peter Kavinsky, and him, and her start „fake-dating“ for slightly implausible reasons and watching their relationship, which was only ever officially fake, stagger back and forth from fake to real is just the cutest thing in the world. I have to admit here that I got so turned on during a hot tub scene that I actually turned netflix off and googled how old the actors were (OLDER THAN 16 THANK FUCK) because I felt like it was fairly pervacious how invested I was in teenagers having a snog in a hot tub.
It’s a romantic film, the only thing, I think, more romantic than this film would be if the actors playing Peter Kavinsky and Lara Jean Covey had to have a fake relationship for PR film promotional type purposes & then accidentally actually fell in love, that would be gorgeous too.
(I am now reading the books, by the way, which are just as good but also totally different, and yet kind of exactly the same, and yes, it is embarrassing reading a teenage romance novel on German public transport but come on, life’s too short to worry about being embarrassing or not, especially when books as good as this have been written.)