“To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” Review

Kayla Winston-Bass

Image credit to Netflix

Warning: contains spoilers

On February 12th, 2020, Netflix announced: “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You.” The release generated lots of buzz, but some fans weren’t too happy with the second edition. Let’s recap, summarize and then reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Netflix film picks right up from where it left off. Lara Jean and Peter are officially a couple. We expect fireworks in the fresh-new relationship, and we get that in first dates, playful banter and forever promises. But we also get forgotten love letters, insecurities and, most importantly, John Ambrose.

What We Want

Lara Jean and John Ambrose steal the hearts of everyone watching from the moment their chemistry sparks on the screen.

When Lara Jean receives a letter back from John Ambrose, her entire world is turned upside down and her relationship is tested. John is one of Lara’s old love letter recipients. When Lara Jean goes to volunteer at a senior citizen’s home, she is shocked to discover that John is also volunteering. Lara recounts their old sixth-grade love in a fairytale flashback featuring a (literal) deviled eggs costume.

I’ll always know that once upon a time, my heart was yours.

Lara Jean

As they work together, it is no surprise when a flame ignites between them. They’re spending Saturdays together and hosting bingo games, just being the cool losers, they are. But unfortunately, it is a bit one-sided. John is greatly feeling the vibe, while Lara Jean seemingly remains faithful.

Let’s flashforward. Lara Jean descends the steps where John awaits to escort her to the dance they organized. They share not only a snow-filled magical moment, but a kiss (Peter and she are broken up at this time, but we’ll get there). Lara departs with wide eyes, and the fairytale stops there. In that moment, John Ambrose realizes that Lara is going to choose Peter. *Cue sad music*

What We Get

Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship starts with flowers, candle-lit dinners and lanterns. But although they left the audience jumping out of their seats with anticipation, the connection comes to a screeching halt. Lara is excited to have finally taken that next step, but she soon finds out that new flames don’t put out old fires.

But for every first I was having with him; he’d already had his with her.

Lara Jean is timid and vulnerable as she discovers that, just because Peter chose her, doesn’t erase the endless girls falling at his feet. Peter assures Lara that she’s the only one he wants. As their relationship progresses, Lara just can’t ignore the fact that Peter’s former girlfriend, Gen, has already experienced all that Peter offers. This is a recurring theme that has Peter and Lara sharing many moments of intensity and distrust.

When Lara is shown a picture of Peter and Gen together, she is upset. She confronts Peter, they argue, and she ends it with something along the lines of you’re always going to pick her over me.

Let’s backtrack and revisit when Lara kisses John post-breakup. She realizes that Peter is the one she wants but fears that it is too late. As she goes out to find him, she opens the door to find none other than Peter Kavinsky standing at the doorstep. In the final minutes we see Lara Jean and Peter in their happy ever after, or beginning as she calls it, as they share a final kiss.

It’s a funny thing, this relationship stuff. One moment things are upside down, but then, like magic, there’s glitter everywhere. And once it all settles, you’re right back in the fairytale again.

Lara Jean

The Verdict

During the duration of the film, we get a lot of tender interactions with Lara Jean and John. For her, its effortless, light and exciting. While her relationship with Peter begins like a fairytale, it is very short-lived. We don’t get the excitement or anticipation like with her and John.

If you’re looking for a romance film where they build up the intensity only for it to come crashing down then this is the movie for you. So, because of that, I give it 3 1/2 stars. 

Although the film is cheesy and a bit corny, it did have many whimsical and dreamy moments that definitely had you wishing you were Lara Jean.

Alas, it ends in an overused trope. The unexpected ending doesn’t leave you with joy or the thrill of wondering if they will make another part. Instead, it leaves you full of questions and confusion (and raging to yell at the writers).