To All The Virtues I’ve Wanted to Sow

23 Apr 2019

I’m a girl, therefore, I’m all for romantic comedies. Nothing beats staying in on a rainy day with tea and chocolate binging everything in this category. However, since diving further into my faith I’ve found myself more aware of certain postures to uphold, especially in the little things, such as those certain viral movies available on Netflix that I can watch and rewatch to my heart’s content. Although seemingly harmless, they sure do have a way of influencing the way love is perceived and the way we want to be loved.

Not long ago, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before graced our computer screens. Its reach was boundless. Before we knew it, girls all over the world were on the hunt for their own Peter Kavinsky. If they were already taken, they were wondering why their boyfriends weren’t acting like Peter Kavinsky – buying them Yakult, resting their hands in their girlfriend’s pockets and twirling them around in public. Boys and girls alike relived the humiliating moment their crush found out about their feelings without their control. The list goes on.

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons To All The Boys I’ve Love Before captured many hearts was the honesty of the characters’ experiences. We see many themes and characteristics play out in this movie that are true to human virtue.

*** WARNING: This blog may contain spoilers for To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before ***

1. Vulnerability

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.” – C.S. Lewis

Relationships cannot fully flourish without vulnerability. Unfortunately, vulnerability: revealing our true humanness including our weakness and brokenness, gets a bad rap these days. We’re conditioned to guard ourselves and often see the unravelling of ourselves as a dangerous thing to do.

Lara Jean knows this is the case. At the beginning of their ‘relationship’, she insists on starting a contract that outlines what her and Peter can and cannot do. No kissing. No snitching. Peter suggests that he can write her daily notes; a suggestion Lara Jean is surprised at probably due to the intimacy of the action. They sign off on the contract, determined to mutually benefit from their relationship but keeping an emotional distance at the same time. As time goes on, Lara Jean and Peter start to get closer, although not explicitly breaking the conditions of their contract, but growing closer in other ways. They being to be vulnerable with one another, sharing things about themselves that other people don’t know.

In the end, (spoilers) rules are broken anyway, showing that the bond created through vulnerability ultimately leads to intimacy in one way with another. It is then important to realise that there is virtue in discerning people to be vulnerable around and the way it is manifested through us.

2. Honesty

“The Gospel calls individual Christian to live lives of honesty, integrity and concern for the common good… to create circles of integrity…, networks of solidarity which can expand to embrace and transform society by their prophetic witness” – Pope Francis

Yes, Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship is sweet, but it is also based off a lie. And as we begin to see, one lie can easily turn into another and before we know it… a whole web of fibs has formed. Dishonesty and lies begin to affect the way we interact with the people around us and the extent to which we let people get to know us.

Two relationships that begin to suffer during Lara Jean and Peter’s fake relationship is her friendship with her sister and her sister’s ex-boyfriend, her crush, good friend and neighbour Josh. It doesn’t take long for Lara Jean to start dodging these two very important people in her life. She begins to make excuses not to speak to them and is often short-fused when she does. In not facing both these people, Lara Jean also finds it hard to face the reality and consequences of her actions, which brings up another important facet of honesty: honesty with oneself.

3. Prudence

Prudence is love making a right distinction between what helps it toward God and what might hinder it.” – St Augustine

Prudence can be widely misunderstood, especially in a society that idolises choice. Yes, choice is absolutely important, but it becomes dangerous when people neglect the possible consequences of their choices. This is where prudence enters the picture. Prudence assists us in our judgements, giving us the knowledge to know what must be done.

The awaited confrontation between Lara Jean and her old friend/Peter’s ex-girlfriend highlights how actions can have a lasting effect. Lara Jean comes to the realisation, “I always thought no one was paying attention to what I was doing, that the only drama in my life was in my head, but it turns out that I wasn’t as invisible as I thought.”

The TV shows we watch don’t have to be limited to an avenue to tune out after a long day… they can also help us tune in to life and all its caveats. The next time you let that timer on ‘Next episode playing in…’ run out, have a think about “What have I learned from that episode?”



  1. Coming soon

Koreen is a young, passionate heart striving to be a saint. She has vast experience in youth ministry and is especially interested in Catholic social teaching. Her regular day involves binge-watching nature documentaries on Netflix, drinking her body weight in tea and consuming at least three different types of chocolate.


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