Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but the guilty pleasure of rom-coms lives on throughout the year. As does Netflix’s seemingly endless supply of them, including “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.”
The film adaptation of Jenny Han’s novel set a new standard for the modern, teenage rom-com. One that many hoped would be carried on through the newly released sequel: “P.S. I Still Love You.”
In terms of a sequel, the movie was well done. It did a great job expanding on the original world, with the return of John Ambrose (Jordan Fisher); they developed characters well, with a deeper look into Lara Jean’s (Lana Condor) anxieties; they brought in new characters to deal with new problems, like the bold, saucy Stormy (Holland Taylor); and, they added layers to the previous film, like the twist with the hot tub scene.
However, it paled in comparison to the original in terms of the romance between Peter (Noah Centineo) and Lara Jean. Their interactions seem awkward and not all of it can be chalked up to Lara Jean’s insecurities.
Almost every scene with them is either them fighting or barely even interacting at all. The comfort level they are at in “P.S. I Still Love You” is nothing at all like the level that they were at in “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.”
It felt as though the connection between best friend Chris (Madeleine Aurthur) and new love interest Trevor (Ross Butler, also known for his role as Zach Dempsey in “13 Reasons Why”) was far better communicated to the audience. Honestly, I hope we get a spin off of their relationship or just get to see more of them in the third movie because I absolutely fell in love with them.
But that only added to how off Peter and Lara Jean felt in this movie, which took away from the drama of John Ambrose re-entering her life.
Not only that, but the pacing was off as well. The transitions between each new event is gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but the rate at which the movie is progressing compared to how we see Lara Jean’s relationships to others progressing is asymmetric.
While I’m all for experimenting with new styles, it simply did not work as well as intended in “P.S. I Still Love You.” There’s no reason to fix something that wasn’t broken, especially at the expense of the overall quality of the film.
What I am grateful for is that they continued their use of color. The movie is just as vibrant as the original. Lara Jean’s outfits were to die for, as was the minimalistic sequences they shot. The sad aquarium scene at the peak of her fight with Peter hits different seeing that this typically bright girl is dressed in drab colors.
That scene broke my heart and was easily the saddest part of the whole film, but a close second was John Ambrose talking about the way people said his name thanks to her.
It was so beautifully shot– unlike the awkward sad lip-syncing Lara Jean does post-fight with Peter. Her and John Ambrose sitting at a piano, talking about what could have been and still could be and him telling her he changed the name people called him was heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once. He is just so perfect for her in every way.
The ending wrapped everything up nicely. Not particularly in the way I wanted it to, but it was classic rom-com nonetheless. It was the last few minutes of the movie that made me feel as though I were still watching the original; the connection between all the characters was there, the ambience was romantic and the declaration of love made my heart melt.
I’m excited to see what the third installment will bring, because “P.S. I Love You” leaves you wanting more.