How Rom-Coms made a Com-back on Netflix summer
By Amana Abdurrezak
“As you wish.” – Westley, The Princess Bride
And don’t forget…I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” – Anna Scott, Notting Hill
Whether your favorite line from a romantic comedy came from 1987’s The Princess Bride or 1999’s Notting Hill, there’s no denying that the heyday of romantic comedies has passed. Behemoths like Marvel and Disney have figured out the formula to dominate every month of the year, leaving little room for romantic comedies to make a splash at the box office.
And that’s where Netflix comes in.
Netflix, the streaming service with approximately 137 million worldwide subscribers, hoped to expand its collection of original movies in 2018 with the “Summer of Love”, its initiative to revive the rom-com genre. Subscribers were treated to movies like “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” and “Set it Up”, a story about two twenty-somethings in New York City trying to trick their bosses into falling in love.
Of the six original movies that were released throughout the summer, “Set it Up” and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” quickly became fan favorites. At Bryn Mawr College, a women’s college in the suburbs of Philadelphia, many students heard about Netflix’s newer rom-coms through word of mouth.
“A friend of mine told me about ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ during the summer,” said junior Valeria Aguilera.
In the movie adapted from Jenny Han’s book with the same title, the story follows high schooler Lara Jean Covey after five of her love letters are accidentally mailed to her past and present crushes.
After hearing about the plot, Aguilera was hooked and searched for it on Netflix. “It hadn’t been released yet, but I always had it in the back of my mind,” she said, “When some people on Facebook mentioned that it was finally released, I watched it.”
Though many heard about Netflix’s Summer of Love lineup when meeting up with friends, more heard about it online.
“Netflix sent notifications, but I also saw those movies on the ‘Movies that Are Trending Now’ list on Netflix,” said senior Ana Meta, “Everyone kept talking about it on Buzzfeed too.”
Much of the praise that “Set it Up” and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” received from the media and students at Bryn Mawr stemmed from how the topic of love was tackled.
For Meta, movies like “Set it Up” weren’t revolutionary, but they were less problematic. “They still have a lot of the old elements and tropes…they’ve kept some of the old fuzzy feelings.” said Meta.
“But they’ve incorporated new faces. You tell that it’s 2018,” emphasized Meta.
In “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”, Aguilera appreciated the diversity of the cast and the presentation of a different kind of family. The movie showcases a Korean-American family where the three sisters are half Korean and half white. Continue reading