Netflix’s latest original movie, bought from Awesomeness TV and based on a novel by Jenny Han, has been thrust into the spotlight of all social media platforms. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, starring Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Israel Broussard, and Trezzo Mahoro is a romance-comedy released on August 17thand tells the story of Lara Jean (an Asian-American teen girl) whose old love letters are sent out to their subjects. Her five letters reach her old crushes and as chaos ensues, we meet them all. However, the movie shows a change in the way gay teen stories are told through a secondary character called Lucas.
As Lara Jean talks to the recipients of her letters to explain herself, she is approached by Lucas who tells her that he received the letter. He says, “I thought you might want that back. It seemed a little personal.” When she explains herself and how she liked him long ago he tells her that he is gay and follows it with:
“Don’t, like, tell anyone though. I’m out and I’m not ashamed. My mom knows, my dad… kinda knows. It’s just… high school.”
What makes this movie different is the way in which Lara Jean reacts. Although we know that she had no idea from both her facial expression and her tone of voice, she says she had no idea. This story chooses to be different by having a character whose story isn’t as easy as simply realizing his identity and coming out- his character portrays a nuance we don’t see often. In this year’s Love, Simonalone, we saw the character of Ethan become the butt of the joke when he comes out even though he has a “gay” appearance through his wardrobe and mannerisms.
In the case of this movie, Lucas already knows how he identifies, he’s told the people he wanted to and maybe feels should know, and decided that was enough for him. His character says he is proud of who he is but implies he rather not make a spectacle, coming out isn’t the next big step for him because he doesn’t see it as essential to move forward. Other movies like last year’s Lady Birdshowed a character who hadn’t figured himself out yet and was asking for the time to be able to do that. With more characters, stories, and representation like this, there is hope that Hollywood can tells our stories and show people everywhere what it feels like to be us.
h/t: Them.us, PureFandom.com