Recently Noah Centineo has been taking the Netflix world by storm from ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved’ to ‘Sierra Burgess Is a Loser’ and he’s making girls all over America swoon. However, I have to say that I am disappointed he just now getting all this attention. I am proud to say that I was one of the few that knew who Centineo was prior to all of this new-found fame. Looking back I remember when he had the Bieber bangs (that we all had in the 7th grade) and played football player Jaden Stark in ‘How to Build a Better Boy’ or when he was in Austin and Ally, a favorite childhood show of mine.
Centineo then made an appearance in SPF-18 sporting a brand new surfer look. I still say nothing compares to his role as Jesus Adams-Foster in the FreeForm tv-show The Fosters. It’s great to see his career rising though. Now despite all of these amazing shows I have to say I am a critic of his role as Peter Kavinsky, not because he doesn’t totally kill it but because the book was better.
Personally I am a huge book nerd and when I picked up the Jenny Han book I instantly fell in love with the characters. The drama, romance, and childlike innocence that is portrayed in the book is not received in the Netflix film. Now there are those who will argue the movie is better but I have to beg to differ because quite frankly that is not true.
You cannot tell me that the details that are in a book that took months to write, create, edit, and publish are in a movie that is 1 hour and 40 minutes. I understand the acting talent that goes into bringing a book to life and I’m not discrediting that in anyway, but the story that forms in a book is much more real than a movie.
First and foremost there is so much missing from the story in the Netflix movie. Lara Jean Covey doesn’t accidently almost hit Peter Kavinsky pulling out of the school parking lot, she gets into a mini-car accident and is pulled over on the side of the road when he is driving by and stops to see if she is okay. This is so important in the book because it shows the first inkling that Kavinsky could be a nice guy. Who doesn’t swoon over the knight in shining armor coming to rescue the girl who is sitting on the side of the road after a car crash.
Second, we miss so much between him and Josh Sanderson in their outward acts towards each other over Covey. Not to mention Sanderson and Covey kiss! How do you know put that in the movie? I understand the idea of innocence and her first real kiss is with Kavinsky but I mean come-on! The only drama we get is with Kavinsky and his ex-girlfriend who is trying to ruin Covey’s life. There is true love triangle at this point in the movie without the kiss between Covey and Sanderson.
To top it all over Covey’s older sister who used to date Sanderson is supposed to find out about the kiss at the party in the end of the movie. She is supposed to get betrayed not just because her younger sister loved Sanderson but because they actually kissed! I’m sorry but loving someone is not a crime, kissing your sister’s ex-boyfriend well that is a reason to be upset.
Finally the whole reason Kavinsky and the other four men that Covey had “loved before” get the letters is completely changed in the movie! I’m sorry but wanting your big sister to get out and have a date is not enough of a reason to send private letters that were written years ago. That is not how you set up a blind date. So for those of you who haven’t read the book here’s a quick re-cap. The whole reason Covey’s letters get sent out by her little sister Kitty Covey is because she almost told Sanderson that Kitty Covey had a little crush on him. You see the littlest of the Covey sisters had always wanted a dog, which was known to everyone, but the name of that dog was known to only to the Covey sisters. When Sanderson had inquired what the dog’s name would be Kitty Covey didn’t want to tell him because it would be “Josh”.
Lara Jean Covey in an effort to tease her younger sister said that it was the name of the guy she liked and that piqued Sanderson’s interest. With Lara Jean Covey teasingly threatening to tell Sanderson the name of the dog it was easy to see why Kitty Covey would get pissed. Even though the show noted that she could hold a grudge for a while, the book conveys it even better. You see Kitty Covey was so upset that she stole the letters from Lara Jean’s teal hat box and sent them all out in a form of revenge. Now if that’s not dramatic I don’t know what is.
You don’t get that kind of drama from the movie, yes Centineo does a great job of making Kavinsky likeable and the man-crush-monday of every girl in American, but what most people don’t know is in the book Kavinsky is kind of an a**hat. That whole scene where he stops everyone in the hallway to tell them that nothing actually happened with Lara Jean Covey in the hot-tub on the ski trip, yeah that doesn’t happen in the book.
There is so many characteristics from the characters in the books that are missing or not portrayed correctly in the movie. After all that I have to say that the book was better, but then again isn’t it always? I was hoping to not be as disappointed as I have been in the past with book to movie conversions, but I have yet to see a movie that does a book complete justice. Time to move on to the next book that I will undoubtedly love more than the movie adaptation.
Originally Published in the print edition of The Cauldron.