“To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” (2020) is a delight, the standard to which all teenage romantic comedies should be held. Funny, clever and surprisingly drama-free, the sequel to “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” (2018) delivers on all promises implicit to the genre.
What is “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” About?
Picking up after the first movie, we find Lara Jean Song Covey (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) at the start of the new school year. Now that they are no longer a pretend couple, Lara Jean is figuring out what it means to be a girlfriend, experiencing all these “firsts” that Peter has already experienced with his ex-girlfriend and her ex-BFF, Gen (Emilija Baranac). Lara Jean and Peter are an adorable high school couple, flush with the giddiness of young love.
Of course, then, a wrench is thrown into the mix. An utterly precious wrench named John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Fisher), another recipient of one of Lara Jean’s old love letters sent out by her little sister Kitty (Anna Cathcart). John Ambrose has written her back and Lara Jean doesn’t know what to do with her feelings of attraction and churning “what-if” thoughts.
Throw in a predictable second meet-cute between Lara Jean and John Ambrose, the inevitable setup of a love triangle, mild twists in a refreshingly shenanigan-free high school relationship, and memorable scenes with friends and family, and the movie is an instant classic.
Watch the “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” trailer here:
“To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” is a Pleasure to Watch Unfold
For those of you who are like Auntie Mochi here, one of the few humans remaining who have yet to watch the first movie, you won’t have any problem getting up to speed. There is a hilarious recap scene brilliantly executed by actress Cathcart, and honestly, there’s no real need for even that backstory — but it is appreciated.
Watch the recap scene in the clip below:
What elevates “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” above your typical teenage romantic comedy is how conflicts within the budding relationship between Lara Jean and Peter are handled — for the most part — with great maturity and mutual respect. I found their conversation about sex to be honest, effective and hopeful. There are no ridiculous setups, and many tropes (for example, the classic jealousy trope) are immediately turned around, subverting the genre.
In addition, the movie allows for the characters to navigate their feelings within safe environments as they delve into the deeper aspects of love: how being in a relationship doesn’t inoculate a person from finding other people attractive, and even the importance of exploring the pleasure of their body on their own! And finally, what a relief to witness teenagers esteem the opinions and advice of the caring adults in their lives.
Oh, and of course, there are a plethora of scenes to make you feel all gooey and soft and happy as a good romantic comedy should.
Minor Quibbles with “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You”
Truthfully, all my complaints regarding the movie are my general objections to the rom-com genre as a whole. After all, why does anyone have to choose between two equally excellent options? Why can’t there be the possibility of polyamory or even the decision to not choose a person at all? Why is a high school romance positioned to be the beginning of true love for all time when, statistically, only 2% of high school relationships end in marriage? And why is marriage the end goal anyway?
Also, I may be salty about who Lara Jean chooses at the end of the movie. What can I say? I hold grudges.
“To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” is an exquisite joy on multiple levels. From the charming characters, incandescent fashion and bouncy chemistry between the actors, the movie excels at romance and comedy. But more important is the heady, frothy feeling experienced by East Asian American women finally seeing themselves in the coveted romantic female lead.
“To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” is slated for release on Netflix Feb. 12, 2020. It is the second of three installments in the “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” film series. Check out Mochi’s exclusive video interviews with the main cast and writer Jenny Han.