As an absolutely devoted fan of the book series I, among with the rest of this mega fan base, had been eagerly anticipating the release of this follow up to the hugely successful first film, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Lara Jean is member of a very select club of main characters that can do no wrong in the eyes of her readership, and the relatability and innocence of this timeless story theme have won over the hearts of viewers and readers alike. Getting straight down to the real reason you’re reading this (let’s be honest), does the movie live up to the book? Hhmm…it’s close but still no cigar, and here’s why:
To All the Boys P.S I Still Love You
Release Date: February 12th 2020
Cast: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Jordan Fisher
Director: Michael Fimognari
Lana Condor did an amazing job at capturing and accurately portraying the quirky, loveable and totally relatable character that is Lara Jean in the first instalment of the “To All the Boys” franchise, and here she succeeds at it once again. This time, rather than navigating through the embarrassment that comes when all her crushes are made aware of her deeply personal feelings for them, Lara Jean is learning how to juggle being in her first serious relationship while also having to confront one of her aforementioned crushes when high school fate intervenes and the two are thrust back into each others lives.
Jordan Fisher picks up the mantle of the totally adorable guy next door, John Ambrose Mcclaren (another recipient of those infamous love letters), who ends up volunteering in the same retirement home as Lara Jean, and the two waste no time in reminiscing about their good old primary school days, and the mutual crushes they had on one another (which haven’t eased up over the time they’ve been apart). Jordan does a great job of coming across as the sweet and enduring John Ambrose, but sadly I don’t think this film gave him nearly enough opportunities to really shine. Previously, we had a whole movie in which the internet collectively sighed in awe at the hotness of Peter Kavinsky, but poor old John Ambrose was given a couple scenes to convince us of his superior boyfriend skills. At least in the book, his character development goes much further.
My other beef with this film is the way the character of Stormie has been introduced – where was this stunning, humorous and cheeky little old lady?! This was an aspect of the story I was really excited about and it just fell completely flat. The dynamic of Lara Jean and Stormie is reminiscent of a grandmother/granddaughter relationship and, as we already see so little of Lara Jean’s family, I thought this would have been a great chance to introduce some back-and-forth between generations. Alas, this was not to be the case. If you haven’t already, please pick up the book if only just to get an idea of what this movie was missing.
Overall, I think the movie fell prey to the ever-present complications that arise when sequels fall short to their original counterparts. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before hit the mark the first time around but so far, P.S I Still Love You kinda makes for redundant viewing. Hopefully, Always and Forever brings this movie franchise to a satisfying close without sacrificing the elements that truly make the series so loveable at its core.