Released: 12th February
Seen: 26th February
In 2018 Netflix released To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, a teen romance movie based on the 2014 novel of the same name. The movie itself was very sweet simple little teenage romance movie that excelled due to its sublime casting and innocent story. The entire plot revolved around Laura Jean (Lana Candor) who would write love letters to every boy she ever had a crush on but wouldn’t send them. It was basically an innocent writing exercise to get the feelings out of her system. The conflict comes when Lara’s younger sister Kitty (Anna Cathcart) finds the letters and sends them out to the named crushes. Lara wrote five letters and the first movie dealt with three of them. It was also a relatively complete story so it probably didn’t need a sequel, but we have two more letters to deal with so that’s how we got here.
To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You picks up shortly after the events of the first movie, with Lara and Peter (Noah Centineo) going on their first date as an official couple. It’s very sweet and adorable so naturally, Lara ends up finally getting a letter back from one of the two people who we didn’t see in the last movie. This letter is from John Ambrose (Jordan Fisher) and he will be playing the role of “Alternative boyfriend you could’ve had if you’d asked earlier” and the entire movie is a playful trip through a relationship with baggage that still somehow works against a potential relationship that both parties have always been into, but still feels a little bit weird. Along the way we’ll relitigate certain storylines from the first movie, have a cute subplot in a nursing home where we get to hang out with the incredibly fun Stormy (Holland Taylor) and just, in general, have another hour and a half with a likable cast telling a sweet story that hits right in the feels.
I’ll be honest, this movie is just a little more time with Lara Jean. There isn’t any real major drama, there is nothing as potentially scandalous as the spa semi-sex tape from last time. The most energised anyone gets is during a bingo scene with a room full of old people, this isn’t going to be some big dramatic love story we’re telling. The arguments are small, the problems barely go above “Wait, do you want me to dress up nice for your big game?” and in the long run we end up back where we started with no real substantial change and yet it’s so damn nice that in the end, I was fine with it. It’s not bad at any of those things, it ticks all the boxes that it needs to tick to qualify as a teenage rom-com and then… well, doesn’t do anything other than just be good at what it’s trying to do.
Sure, there are some laudable things about this film, very laudable, the most laudable. A romcom with an Asian-American lead is still a big deal (and will continue being a big deal until it’s so common I barely even notice it), this film actually makes one of her love interests a person of colour which is nice and we still have a main gay character. Things that we need more of in romcoms, this film does. Now, granted, I’d love it if that gay character wasn’t just the sassy best friend in a few scenes but hey, they’re there and I consider that a win at this point. They have charming characters who deliver simple yet sweet dialogue that hits you in the feels, it’s just more of the last movie and I cannot even begin to try and make this review anything more detailed then “It’s that thing you liked, only more”.
Look, this is just a nice movie. It’s not great, it’s not bad, it’s just nice. I smiled while watching it, I didn’t want to turn it off, I doubt I’ll remember it tomorrow but I don’t feel like I wasted my time and I am going to watch the next sequel where we’ll probably meet the 5th guy who got a letter or there’ll be a mysterious pregnancy or… something, I don’t know. Look, it’s nice, it’s just a nice simple romcom for teenagers, doesn’t need to be anything more than that.