The Return of the Rom-Com



As of summer 2018, Netflix-produced movies have become the new norm among young adults. Rather than talking about Hollywood romances, teenagers have been raving about Netflix-produced romantic comedies such as “The Kissing Booth” and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” on social media.

Netflix kicked the summer off with the release of “The Kissing Booth” on May 11. The romantic comedy is an adaptation of the Wattpad story by Beth Reekles. When Reekles was 15, she published chapters of “The Kissing Booth” onto Wattpad in hopes of appealing to those who “wanted to read regular high school romance,” just like she had wanted.

Later into the summer, Netflix also released “To All the Boys”  on August 17 which is an adaptation of the identically-titled novel by Jenny Han. Despite it being released in mid-August, the romantic comedy has been all the buzz among high school students and on social media. Reviews for “To All the Boys” dub the Netflix movie as “the rescue of rom-coms.”

Internet Movie Database (IMDB) rates both movies with similarly high ratings“The Kissing Booth” receiving a 6.3 out of ten and “To All the Boys” receiving a 7.8 out of ten. Many movie critics, like Renee Schonfeld from Common Sense Media, feel that the two Netflix movies are more popular than Hollywood’s summer romance movies because teens who are “fans of teen romance will find much to like.”

According to Andrew Cole-Bulgin, co-founder of the production company Komixx Entertainment, the young adult appeal of “The Kissing Booth” is based around its plot of experiencing “first romances [and] first falling in love,” which appeals to many young adults who have yet to go through or are currently going through these first experiences.

As for “To All the Boys,” Han’s aim for her novel was to create “a modern, classic love story that felt really warm and cozy.” That’s what drew Ann-Sophie Visser, a junior at Milton High School, to watch the movie. She states that she loved “To All the Boys” because “it’s just so cute and happens in high school so [she is] drawn to the movie more than most modern Hollywood movies.”

The popularity of these Netflix movies also comes from a drought in romantic comedies coming out of Hollywood. Canonized romantic comedies, such as “Love Actually,” “Clueless,” and “13 Going on 30,” were all released in the early 21st century and are frequently watched on Netflix. Anna Acosta, a junior at Milton, enjoys both films because they’re “a nice throwback to rom-coms that were made in the 2000s all the time.” She says that “if Hollywood made more films like [“The Kissing Booth” and “To All the Boys”] it would pay off.”

Matt Brodlie, a director for Netflix, explains that viewers were watching rom-coms multiple times on Netflix as opposed to other genres. Due to this observation, Netflix felt the need to “dive into this space that had been abandoned but was still a desire for people to see” by producing and releasing new rom-coms.

Hollywood’s lack of production in the genre has made the occasional release of a romantic comedy, including “To All the Boys” and “The Kissing Booth,” popular in a short amount of time. Due to the shocking popularity of Netflix-produced rom-coms, it is safe to say that Netflix has found success in releasing romantic comedies.