Review: To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You
Bridie Adams finds the latest in the To All the Boys series to be a worthy continuation of the story but unable to live up to its predecessor
The 2020 romantic comedy, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You works well as a sequel. Was a sequel to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before necessary (apart from to appease fans of the books who expected another film)? Probably not. It makes sense as a standalone film, but it’s nice to see more of it as a series anyway. Released exclusively on Netflix, it has been popular with fans of the first film and of the books.
When To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before first came out, I put off watching it for a long time. I felt like I’d seen enough of the same kind of rom coms – shy high school girl develops a crush on the popular jock guy (for example, The Duff and Sierra Burgess is a Loser). Eventually, I had seen so much hype about it on Twitter that one evening, I gave in and watched it. I was really impressed. Lara Jean is the kind of character I, and many other teenage girls, could relate to at the time: always in and out of unrequited love or developing feelings for boys she briefly encounters, never quite being brave enough to tell them how she feels.
Although I am unsure if this sequel was ever really needed in the first place, it was a light, feel-good watch that I liked a lot
I still really like Lara Jean as a character in the new film. I admire how true to herself she is, choosing love above anything else and completely listening to her heart. John Ambrose’s main purpose as a romantic interest is to trigger Lara Jean’s realization that Peter is the one for her, and I think this works well, with his role within the film tying into the main love story at play.
However, I don’t think she is so relatable for so many girls in the sequel. Being in a relationship with her dream guy and reconnecting with her childhood crush is the stuff of daydreams for a lot of high school girls, not reality like a lot of the situations in the first film. Despite this, it is still easy to get invested in Lara Jean’s love life, and most of us like a good love triangle.
P.S. I Still Love You is a pretty successful continuation from its predecessor. It clearly refers to important aspects of the first film in the series, for example the iconic hot tub scene. In this scene, Lara Jean has a steamy encounter with Peter Kavinsky, her main romantic interest, in a hot tub while on the school ski trip. However, she is unaware that she is being filmed in a video that will later go viral, amongst her peers and beyond, and have a nightmarish impact on her reputation. In the new film, the sexual, romantic tone of the scene is turned on its head. Lara Jean’s realisation that this encounter with Peter, and her whole relationship with him, may not have happened if it weren’t for pure chance is central to the plot, and makes us question the strength of the two characters as a couple.
Despite this twist, I enjoyed the happy ending. Although I am unsure if this sequel was ever really needed in the first place, it was a light, feel-good watch that I liked a lot. The third film in the series, To All the Boys: Always and Forever, Lara Jean, is currently in post-production, and I look forward to seeing what happens next in the story.