Review: ‘To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You’ fails to exceed expectations

Rom-com sequel pales in comparison to the original


Courtesy of Netflix.

To All the Boys I’ve Ever Loved Before” became known as one of the greatest rom-coms Netflix created, following its release on Aug. 17, 2018. Fans grew excited for its sequel, “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You,” since Netflix released the teaser on YouTube on Dec. 19, 2019. When the movie finally made its appearance on Feb. 11, 2020, fans excitedly started streaming, awaiting the continuation of the love story.

The sequel starts where the first movie left off, with Laura Jean Covey (Lana Condor)  and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) going on their first real date. Although, later on in the movie, she gets a letter back from one of the recipients of her love letters, John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Fisher). The movie then shows conflict between Laura Jean’s crush on John Ambrose and her relationship with Peter, along with Peter’s residual feelings for Genevieive (Emilija Baranac), his ex-girlfriend.

Sequels have reputations for never living up to the original and “P.S. I Still Love You” wasn’t able to break from the stereotype. The original was loved for the characters’ charm and the movie’s light humor and ease. The sequel attempted to recreate the same feeling, but inevitably missed the mark. The plot itself couldn’t compare to the first. It was watchable, but left the viewer with the feeling of unfulfillment, as if it lacked a certain quality the producer’s couldn’t obtain.

The original book series by Jenny Han outshined the movie tenfold, like a mountain of words compared to a pebble of empty promises. The book had background details and interactions the movie omitted. The movie tried making up for these lost moments by adding scenes not present in the original novel, which made the movie lack the quality that made readers fall in love in the first place.

Although the movie tore away scenes and dialogue, it still included the same atmosphere in the book thanks to the characters’ acting. In the book, John Ambrose and Laura Jean interacted through letters, but those scenes were replaced with the interactions they had while volunteering together at the Belleview nursing home. The book created the elements of a classic and romantic love story through its letters, but the pair of actors formed a chemistry between the characters that couldn’t have been recreated through a letter exchange.

The sequel established the feeling of realism through the conflicts presented in the plot. Laura Jean and Peter had problems, fought and argued, but they also tried resolving their problems despite their pain. The movie also broke through the cliché of only being attracted to their significant others by creating additional love interests. Additionally, characters such as Genevive also developed a mature and complex persona not present in the first film as different sides of their personal lives were shown.

Overall, “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” was enjoyable. However, it didn’t reach the standards of the original by a longshot. It almost felt empty, like a time-filler played in the background. The movie successfully made the audience laugh and root for the main characters, but also contradicted its own love story. Incompatibility was shown throughout, despite the movie being a rom-com. The plot even threw in another competitor who felt like the better option. Although the movie had commendable moments, it also had its share of regrettable ones, earning a solid 3 out of 5 stars.