While a bit longer than it needs to be, “To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” will stir up your emotions just like the first film.
|Screenplay By||Sofia Aluarez, J. Mills Goodloe|
|Date Released (Netflix)||2/12/2020|
|Genre(s)||Comedy, Romance, Young Adult|
|Duration||1 Hour, 42 Minutes|
|Lara Jean||Lana Condor|
|John Ambrose||Jordan Fisher|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You Plot Summary/ Review (Spoilers on 2nd Page)
It’s a new year, and the winter months were doing well for Lara Jean. She has her first boyfriend, her dad is back into being in the dating pool, and while older sister Margot was in Scotland, Kitty was still around – pretending she is now a high-class matchmaker. But, with Lara Jean’s first taste of romance also comes jealousy, insecurity, and with John Ambrose coming back into her life, after receiving her letter and joining her at a senior living facility, to volunteer for school, things get complicated. Mostly in Lara Jean dealing with the history she and Peter have, which is complicated thanks to how it began, vs. what could have been with John Ambrose. Someone who makes it clear that, even if 5 to 6 years separated, he wouldn’t mind picking up where they left off and seeing what they could have become.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- So Chris can find someone, and a guy from 5 years ago can return to Lara Jean’s life, but Lucas got to walk around lowkey mopey and single?
That First Love Vibe
With being many years separated from the taste of first love, it is always a nice trigger to remember both the highs and lows. All of which Condor gives us through Lara Jean’s incessant need to question things, even when they are doing good. Heck, even that sense of wonder, with knowing you can be loved, whether the grass is greener on the other side is explored in such a way that really pushes the idea that, while this is a love story, it doesn’t want to paint broad strokes and not explore a few fibers of the brush.
“To All The Boys” wants to recognize what it is like when someone is your first everything and you their second, third, perhaps beyond. How awkward it is to know your partner’s ex, either due to friendship or seeing them around, and dealing with the fact this person you like, potentially love, has strong connections, similar to yours, with other people. Then add in that weird time when you were seeing one another, but not exclusive to the mix, and it really makes you glad, if you are older and beyond your first, for many things, that you had that experience and are able to handle the weight of your, and another person’s, emotions.
Well, on a good day anyway.
Lara Jean, Gen, Peter and Jung
Getting back to that connection subject, I really did appreciate how the film reminded us things didn’t begin and end with Peter and Lara Jean getting together. While she wasn’t officially with anyone before him, she had connections and interest in other guys. Hence why John Ambrose can cause so much confusion despite the time length since they last spoke.
The same goes for Gen. Yes, her and Peter’s relationship ended in a rather juvenile way, but that was her first for many things, and while Lara Jean is uncomfortable with that, the level of intimacy those two shared was beyond the physical. They are now forever tied together in memories, both good and bad.
This also goes for Lara Jean and Gen. Yes, they may no longer be friends but beyond sharing a boy they liked, they had so much else together. And while what was once love has turned to hate, or at least indifference, they are still tied close enough that one day, maybe if that old friendship gets tested, they can become what they once were again. And in the film, as much as Lara Jean finding joy and peace in love can stir your emotions, it strangely is the one relationship she isn’t working hard to understand and fix that hits you the hardest.
On The Fence
After A While, It Felt Like It Was Dragging Things Out
While “To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” has comedic moments, drama and expands to give Dan a love life, Chris a boyfriend, and more, it ultimately makes the film feel a bit bloated. Making it seem, compared to the first film, a 180 was done so that, rather than be made a bit more to the point, and make Lara Jean the center of the universe, we’re reminded other characters have lives.
But the problem with that is, you aren’t given enough to invest in their lives. Dan and Chris’ new relationships, for example, are tame, don’t inspire butterflies or any of that. It’s like, the rose-colored glasses or moments that would create an emotional investment, that we get for Lara Jean’s relationship(s), are stripped when we’re looking at other characters. Making the only good thing about what feels like a lengthy film is it touching on Lara Jean’s heritage and presenting, in an almost minuscule way, her mother’s side of the family.
The Need To Question If You Are Invested In Lara Jean’s Relationships Or Just Her Happiness
In this film, the conversations and any sense of depth we got in the first movie is gone. Now Lara Jean’s relationships feel shallow and based on John Ambrose always knowing the right thing to say and being too new to see the flaws of. And yet here is Peter, who has many flaws, but Lara Jean has come to like, love, or maybe deal with them.
And while, in seeing that, you can understand Peter’s situation in the first movie, in wondering if their situation is about convenience or comfort, there is a need to question if things couldn’t have gone further? For, by the time the film ends, you are far less worried about who Lara Jean may pick and ultimately just want to see her happy. Heck, her ending up single, and believing she may not be ready for how intense her feelings can become would have been understandable and fine. Especially since both Peter and John Ambrose were rarely treated as individuals and strictly were portrayed as love interests.
1. Those who enjoy YA romance and the drama that comes with it
2. Getting to see a bit more of the characters who didn’t get a lot of screen time in the first movie
Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)
Despite feeling the film drags a bit towards the middle, Peter seemingly devolving and John Ambrose never moving beyond the dreamy guy with seemingly no flaws, “To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” is worth seeing. Mind you, almost strictly to witness Lara Jean’s internal emotional journey, and understanding of love and connection, than her interaction with any of her friends or love interests, but that is where she is right now. She is experiencing love beyond friendship and family, and with that comes a whole new space in her heart and the need to decipher, with a new level of understanding of what love is, and both the joy and pain it can cause, how will she allow her to influence who she is?
So while the romance may not swoon you, you have to appreciate Lara Jean looking to past friendships and crushes, as well as what she has with Peter, to form a solid foundation for how to be more than someone’s girlfriend in the honeymoon phase, but also if things go bad and perhaps either a break or break up, might be necessary.
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To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You Ending Spoilers
In the end, despite Lara Jean feeling insecure about not being Peter’s first for many things, and being a bit uncomfortable with his continued friendship with Gen, she matures. If not, more so, with kissing John Ambrose not having that butterfly feeling that she gets with Peter, she realizes she may have liked John Ambrose, maybe loved him at one time, but she doesn’t now. He is just an attractive guy who thinks she is a potential partner as well.
Leading to her reconciling with Peter, which is made possible not only due to him taking the initiative but also Gen. For being that Lara Jean doesn’t want any drama, she decides to have a come to Jesus moment with Gen. One that doesn’t lead to their old friendship being revived, but at the very least creates the pathway to them being cordial. For with Gen noting how head over heels Peter is for Lara Jean, and noting she, like Lara Jean, put her friendship bracelet in the time capsule they, and a larger group, dug up, both are reminded of what was somehow lost – or what they outgrew.
Leaving us with Peter and Lara Jean back together, ending the movie as the first one did: With them kissing.
Is A Sequel Possible?
To my understanding, if filming isn’t already finished, it soon should be.