movies

'I waited almost two years for the To All The Boys sequel and it was just... fine.'

After watching Netflix teen rom-com To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before in 2018, the world felt… warm. Cozy, like you’d been wrapped up in a blanket full of hugs and Peter Kavinsky.

The movie became an instant hit. People – and not just the teen audience it was intended for – were watching it over, and over, and over.

For 18 months, I was content that Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) and Peter (Noah Centineo) would live happily-ever-after, or for however long a high school romance could last, and that felt like enough. 

Side note: Watch the trailer for To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You. Post continues after video. 

But To All The Boys is based on a book trilogy by author Jenny Han and given its huge success, Netflix was obviously going to give us more LJ and Peter.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You picks up a couple of weeks after the end of the first movie. Lara Jean and Peter are officially a real couple, after months of ‘fake dating’.

They go on their first date – Lara Jean’s first ever date – to a fancy restaurant and then send a paper lantern with their initials on it floating into the sky. It’s pretty cute, but Lara Jean can’t quite get over her insecurity of being inexperienced out of her head, obsessing over what her boyfriend may have done in the past with his ex (and her ex-best friend), Gen.

The couple promise not to break each other’s hearts, which we all know from any life experience ever, means someone’s heart is going to be broken.

At the end of the first movie, Netflix teased its sequel with the arrival of John Ambrose McClaren, Lara Jean’s middle school crush and receiver of one of her five love letters. 

John Ambrose has been recast, portrayed by Jordan Fisher, and as far as I can tell, that scene doesn’t seem to have… happened in the second movie.

No matter, because we meet the new John Ambrose not long into the film, through a chance meeting with Lara Jean at a retirement village where they volunteer. He’s seriously charming, and definitely coming for Centineo’s title as the internet’s boyfriend.

Enter, our love triangle.

It’s not the most convincing love triangle, and I think you’ll quickly realise if you’re #TeamJohn or #TeamPeter (and really, I think there’s only one correct answer).

The level of detail in Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship in the first movie – from the Korean yogurt to the progression of their sweet phone lock-screen backgrounds – is what made the film so endearing and genuine, and P.S I Still Love You doesn’t quite get there, with either Peter or John Ambrose.

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The most frustrating part is that so much of the conflict throughout the film never needed to happen, if the characters had communicated better. They’re 16, I know, and no one was a master of words and emotions in high school. But from a viewer perspective, I found myself wanting to yell “WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST MENTION THIS EARLIER” on more than one occasion.

While most of the movie is based around Lara Jean’s confusion, some of the film’s best moments involve her and her family. Her older sister is still studying in Scotland, but younger sister Kitty has even more one-liners, and we learn more about their late mother, as their dad begins a new relationship.

Also, there’s a really nice moment with Gen that genuinely surprised me. It would be nice to focus on Lara Jean’s female relationships, too.

Condor and Centineo remain the highlights of the film, with Condor continuing to play Lara Jean with equal parts intimidated nerd and fashion-forward cool girl and Centineo again nailing Kavinsky as the sweet but a little clueless sports guy.

Oh, and Holland Taylor’s Stormy is the woman I hope to be.

After finishing the first film in 2018, and again in the many instances I’ve watched it over, I always felt the urge to play it again. That urge didn’t come in the closing credits of P.S I Still Love You, even though its ending brought me back to that warm, fuzzy feeling. 

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before could’ve been one of the best standalone teen movies of its generation, and while the sequel is far from bad, it’s just a little bit… fine.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You is available on Netflix on Wednesday, 12 February.

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