Directed by: #MichaelFimognari
Netflix had great success with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018), attracting rave reviews with a fresh narrative from Lara Jean Covey (Lara Condor) and the love that surrounds her. Audiences find themselves following the successful and bittersweet teen romance between Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), with a twist that is based on the second book of Jenny Han’s trilogy. Despite the two becoming an official couple, the sudden appearance of former love John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Fisher) throws a spanner in the works for Lara Jean and creates a new love triangle for her to become tangled in.
This feel-good sequel was perfect for Valentine’s Day viewing and kept amorous spirits alive in the weeks after. Its light-hearted, fun nature keeps each scene fresh and exciting and adds another dimension to ‘teen rom-com.’ Boyfriend Peter is still sweet to watch, with Centineo’s chemistry with Condor still ever-present, but unfortunately loses a touch of novelty and becomes a little predictable in this film. We also get to see the same familiar faces of Lara Jean’s family, with her older sister Margot (Janel Parrish) mostly absent due to studying abroad and dynamic Kitty (Anna Cathcart) still occasionally stealing the show with her expert comedic timing. Dad (John Corbett) is still as loveable as ever, always trying to ensure that his girls still honour their Asian heritage and his small, yet meaningful, acts of love are still very sweet to watch.
New characters from the books are also introduced in this sequel, including rogue pensioner Stormy (Holland Taylor) whose iconic comedic prowess gives Lara Jean an older perspective on what love means. Audiences definitely see Lara Jean grow even further into her maturity in this film, with her learning more about what it means to be in love and be loved. Jordan Fisher adds a fresh dynamic to the storyline as the loveable John Ambrose, who is designed to make Lara Jean question her love for Peter, but in reality he is just a sweetheart. He is not made out to be a villain at all and the film depends on the audience’s personal perception of Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship credibility. Do they think that what she has with Peter is meaningful, or do they find their eyes wandering over to something new? This almost shared mentality with Lara Jean gives this sequel a fascinating narrative to consider.
Soundtrack is really worked into the film, with Lara Jean lip-synching along in parts, adding a comical edge that was present in the first film. Also, to see teenagers young and having fun as well as discussing love and its complications is refreshing to see in a teen film being released today. What also works well is, like the first film, everything looks and feels very fashionable. Its bright edge makes it feels like a 1980s fever-dream with contemporary props thrown in. Everything from the feel of the film, right down to how it is shot makes the tone bright and energetic and as a result, the whole viewing experience very enjoyable.
The novelty of the original has worn off in places, but this sequel still retains equal measures of fun and bittersweetness. A fun, family-friendly watch for anyone and everyone, recommended for cheering up purposes, or if you are off sick.
To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You is on Netflix, who have also announced that there will be a third film coming soon.