Name: To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You
Genre: Drama, Romance
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before caught us all by surprise when Netflix released it back in 2018 as a sweet film about a girl who hid her feelings towards the boys she used to love. She finds herself working through the emotions and gives us a sweet film about the act itself of falling in love. Two years later, To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You takes it a step further and dives into the question of what makes an actual relationship work.
This is the second film in a trilogy, and will undoubtedly have a different reaction than its much loved predecessor. The story focuses on the aspect of what might have been and finding the difference and balance between you as an individual and you within a couple. The script felt like it fell a bit short this time with the overall narrative feeling very messy. The two most important themes in the first film were Jean’s personal growth and her relationship with her sister. This film lost this completely.
This time we see Lara Jean Song-Covey (Lana Condor) on her first official date with Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo). Following the first movie they finally become a real actual couple. Lara’s love life doesn’t include crush Josh anymore as he is no longer in the love triangle, instead Lara is trying to figure out how she is meant to be the girlfriend of the most popular guy in school. She is constantly comparing herself to possessive ex Gen (Emilija Baranac). But the drama between her and Gen is the least of her worries. It turns out that Lara’s final letter made it to John Ambrose MacLaren (Jordan Fischer). He is suddenly back in her life making her question whether the relationship with Peter is working after all.
The production value of the film is far above and beyond what anyone would expect for a Netflix rom-com, dazzling us with a beautiful colour palette continuing from the first film. Perfect camera work that made many shots looks like perfectly captured still photos, with a splatter of even more colour and fun. One moment I really enjoyed was when Peter and Lara Jean had an emotional conversation at the aquarium. The camera work gave you a point of view feel seeing the raw emotion of the characters deep in their eyes and facial expressions.
My biggest issue with the film is the lack of focus on Lara Jean’s growth as a person. The first film was a love story that showed us the journey of getting together with Peter – which was great. But it also showed us Lara coming out of her shell, becoming happy as a truer version of herself. Her friends and family saw that in her. During P.S. I Still Love You just seemed rushed towards the end. When Lara Jean has her emotional breakthrough there isn’t enough time left of the movie to connect to the thesis and doesn’t sell on the merits of the either love interest in the love triangle.
This connects to another issue with is the complete disregard of the relationship between the sisters. This was such a building block for the first film and in this one it’s near enough completely nonexistent. With both sisters barely in the movie it felt like an important part of Lara Jean’s life is forgotten about.
With this being the second film in a trilogy of books, it’s understandable why this second installment would be hard to love. The narrative arc purpose during this film is to create tension and disrupt the happily ever after ending from the first film. This movie just felt like it misses the mark on some crucial elements. It felt messy and rushed. Let’s hope if the third film gets commissioned it will give us the missing elements and a satisfying ending to Lara Jean’s love life.