To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You is the sequel to 2018 Netflix original To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. I have not done a full review of the first movie but did re-watch it right before the sequel. The original movie came out around the same time as Crazy Rich Asians and before Parasite and The Farewell. It is the only movie I know of to focus on an Asian female in high school in the united states. It is a solid romantic comedy. The story is complete and tugs at your emotions as we see Laura Jean, played by Lana Condor, struggle to understand her own feelings during the beginning of a relationship. The movie does contain a post-credits scene that ties into the second movie, but the boy at the door is recast in the sequel.
Noah Centineo returns as Peter. Josh does not make a reappearance in the sequel. The absence of any relationship between Laura Jean and Josh in the sequel is puzzling as the first movie makes clear that they are close friends with a unique connection. Instead, the second movie focuses on a love triangle with new to the cast, John Ambrose played by Jordan Fisher.
A love triangle story in high school is not as fresh as personal feelings becoming public. Everyone can relate to their hidden longings in high school. Not everyone can relate to being torn between two love interests just days into their first relationship. The movie sets up Peter to appear worse than he is because Laura Jean becomes a less reliable narrator than she was in the original.
The Laura Jean and Gen relationship is still as hate-filled as in the first movie. There is a scene where Laura must confront the origins of the feud, but we already knew them from the first film. The resolution is totally unclear. It would have been more interesting for two high school girls who both had feelings for the same boy to make amends and become friends again. That seems like a more important lesson for people to learn.
It is great to continue to see diverse casts in movies so more audience members can see themselves in the role. Jenny Han wrote the novel that this movie is based on. She refused to work with multiple producers because she insisted that the lead be Asian. Laura Jean’s ethnicity does not have much of anything to do with the story. Lana Condor being Asian-American has everything to do with minority representation in television and film.
To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You is an ok sequel. It is not as good as the original movie. Both are Netflix originals so they should be around to watch at home or on your laptop whenever you want. It is an entertaining light-hearted teenage romantic comedy that does not rely on sex jokes. It continues the exploration of interpersonal skills and emotions during our most hormone-fueled years. I want to see Lana Condor in more films.