From Page to Screen: P. S. I Still Love You

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Credit: Netflix

*I attended a free early screening of To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You in New York City. This did not influence my review of this movie in anyway. This is an honest review of the movie as I saw it. This movie will be released on February 12.*

When To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before came out last year it was an instant hit. Whether you’d read the New York Times bestselling book series by Jenny Han or if you were meeting Lara Jean Song Covey (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) for the first time, fans instantly fell in love with this movie. The actors became stars and with the film’s success Netflix moved forward with not just one sequel, but two more, confirming that all three of Han’s books would be translated to film, much to fan’s delight.

Thus, the hype for To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, along with the expectations, were incredibly high, but could the sequel really hold up to the original? Unfortunately, not quite.

There were a lot of qualities that made To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before a hit. For starters, Condor and Centineo’s chemistry resonated off the screen. From their very first scene together, this was a couple you were rooting for despite all their missteps. But besides their sweet romance, there was also the relationship between the Covey sisters and their dad that really resonated with viewers. Kitty’s (Anna Cathcart) meddling in Lara Jean’s life was the perfect set up for the entire plot of the first film while Lara Jean’s struggle of having a crush on her older sister, Margot’s (Janel Parish), ex-boyfriend brought in a complication that also influenced the plot of the film.

Thus, Lara Jean’s relationship with her family was strongly interwoven with the relationship she developed with Peter creating a cohesive story that was altogether heartwarming. But the layers that made To All the Boys I’ve Loved You such a heartfelt film fell a bit flat in its sequel.

For starters, Margot is only in the film for one scene. While Lara Jean’s mom is heavily referenced throughout the film, we never see Lara Jean try to talk to Margot or Kitty about missing her mom, the two people who would probably understand her grief the most. Additionally, though we do get to see a bit of Kitty’s noteworthy meddling as she attempts to set up their dad (John Corbett) with the next door neighbor, Trina (Sarayu Blue), that storyline easily got lost in the background of the main plot.

Another loss was the lack of Kitty and Peter interactions. There was only one brief scene with Kitty and Peter that people will recognize from the trailer. And perhaps this loss could be attributed to not enough time, but the film also added an unnecessary romance plot line featuring Chris (Madeleine Arthur) as well as the introduction of Peter’s friend Trevor (Ross Butler) who also didn’t add much to the film.

But more than anything what P. S. I Still Love You really suffered from was trying to figure out how to continue telling Lara Jean and Peter’s story in a way that would keep the feel good vibes of the first movie. From the promotions to the trailer, it was clear P. S. I Still Love You was setting up a love triangle for Lara Jean between Peter and John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Fisher). However, for there to be a love triangle the film had to throw a wrench into Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship and unfortunately it’s much more fun to see a couple fall in love than it is to watch them fall apart.

Perhaps if it seemed like there was ever a chance John Ambrose and Lara Jean were actually the couple to root for, maybe John Ambrose and Lara Jean’s romance could’ve been filler for Lara Jean and Peter’s fracturing relationship. Instead, however, John Ambrose just felt like another complication to the couple fans had already fallen in love with in the first film. Thus, any romantic moments John Ambrose shared with Lara Jean rang false.

Even so, there were still plenty of moments in P. S. I Still Love You that will make viewers feel all the heartwarming, fuzzy feelings as they felt with the first movie, beginning with Lara Jean and Peter’s first real date. P. S. I Still Love You also held onto some of the humor and charm from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and as always Condor’s facial expressions truly shined through in this film.

While the movie will certainly break viewers’ hearts at times, fans can rest assured that they’ll come out of the movie believing that though love can be complicated and messy, it’s ultimately still worth those bouts of heartache.

To All the Boys: P. S. I Still Love You begins streaming on Netflix on Friday, February 12. Watch the trailer below:

Binged It: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Trilogy

The first year I went to BookCon in 2016 I met Jenny Han for the first time and she personally signed a copy of To All the Boys I’ve Before for me, which I bought onsite. And then I went home, put the book on my book case, and never read it. Well now that the film has been adapted into a Netflix movie, I decided maybe it was time I finally gave the book a read. In addition, over the years I’ve also acquired the entire trilogy so I figured why not just binge the whole trilogy. And binge it I did.

According to my handy planner, I went through this entire trilogy from July 27 to 31. In sum, I binged it in a weekend. What can I say, I was pretty hooked on Lara Jean’s story from the start, and I just couldn’t put these books down, not even for sleep. I crashed after I finished the last one, in case you were wondering.

If you’re unfamiliar with the series, it follows Lara Jean, who writes a letter every time she’s done with a crush. She pretty much pours her heart out, saying what she loved about the guy, and then puts it in an envelope and even addresses it, but never sends it. Honestly, this was my one major issue with this whole concept. If Lara Jean never planned on sending the letters, why even write their address? But I get that it was for the plot, since the person who ends up sending them out, most likely wouldn’t have put in the effort to track down all these guys’ addresses.

Moving right along, Lara Jean’s letters do get sent out, which is a shock to her, especially when one of her crushes, now popular guy Peter K, confronts her about it. At the same time, Lara Jean’s most recent crush, Josh Sanderson, also got his letter. Only problem is Josh, until very recently, was dating Lara Jean’s older sister, Margot. Awkward. In order to cover up the fact that she has serious feelings for Josh, Lara Jean kisses Peter in a most dramatic fashion, and they begin a fake relationship to trick Josh and Peter’s ex/Lara Jean’s ex-best friend, Genevieve, into believing they’ve moved on.

I love a good fake relationship story and that’s exactly what book one gave me. Book two gave me a great love triangle where I would’ve been happy if Lara Jean ended up with either guy (though I thoroughly approve of her final choice). And then finally, the last book just gave me all the feels because it was all about graduating from high school and not being sure about how your relationships in high school would transcend to your new life in college. While I graduated high school almost a decade ago (wait what?), those feelings still felt very real to me.

Overall, I obviously loved all these books. They were romantic and heartwarming, and I love the relationships Lara Jean had with her sisters, Margot and Kitty. Plus, as I said, I just couldn’t put them down. I highly recommend reading this book before the movie comes out and then checking out the film, which drops on Netflix on August 17. I plan on baking cookies, just like Lara Jean would, for the occasion. I can’t wait!

Number of Books: 3

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Overall Rating: 

5 stars

P.S. I made a BuzzFeed quiz for you to find out which Song girl (Lara Jean and her sisters) you are if you’re into that kind of thing.

P.P.S. Here’s the trailer if you haven’t watched it 100 times like I have.