A Review of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before P.S. I Still Love You

By Liesel Lutz

*Spoilers Ahead*

It’s Valentine’s Day! So, my best friend and I did what many best friends will be doing today, we watched one of those cheesy Netflix teen romance movies. Now, I don’t like these types of movies. Lots of people try to convince me that I should so, occasionally, I will be persuaded into trying one, because who knows, maybe I’ll like it this time.

Now, I liked aspects of the first To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. I thought the filming was far superior considering how most teen movies are shot. The colors and camera work were beautiful! I also liked the main character, Lara Jean, who managed to be a somewhat realistic and dreamy female character without fulfilling the “I’m not like other girls” trope. I thought the storyline with her single father and older sister was interesting, as well as her younger sister sending out Lara Jean’s love letters. To be honest, I didn’t like Peter Kavinsky. I thought he was a pretty average typical male love interest. I watched this movie around two years ago when it came out, so when I heard that Jordan Fischer was in the new one, I had to check it out!

I had a lot of feelings about the sequel. Primarily, the camera work was not nearly as superior as before! Secondly, the writing left much to be desired. This movie spent almost two hours circling Lara Jean’s insecurity about Peter’s previous girlfriend, with no true resolution. There were aspects I liked such as bringing in Lara Jean’s Korean family, but it, overall, left a lot to desired. Most of the movie focuses on whether or not Lara Jean wants to be with her current boyfriend, Peter Kavinsky, or the recently-returned crush (and overall better character) John Ambrose. To be honest, I thought this choice was pretty clear cut. While Peter may love Lara Jean, he lies multiple times throughout the movie, and truly only meets the bare minimum boyfriend standard. John Ambrose, on the other hand, is respectful, kind, and a good listener. He also plays the piano and carries a leather bag so really, where’s the competition?

My true issue is that throughout this entire movie, it feels as if Lara Jean cannot truly decide what she wants and what course of action to take. In the first movie, she is conscious and still 100% herself, even when she decides to date Peter. Whether or not the fact that the first movie was directed by a woman, and the second by a man has any effect on this can only be supposed. However, one cannot deny that Lara Jean lacks much of her first movie moxie and courage. I, personally, do not think this movie provides any good lessons or role models for the girls and boys watching it. For the sake of the story, it would have made more sense for Lara Jean to commit to breaking up with Peter and to date John Ambrose; showing that she had control over her life and that she would weigh her options and choose the right decision, or at least commit to one!

In the future I hope that we can put out good teen romances that show an actual mature relationship or, at least, how to develop into one. Hopefully the third one will be better! I think I have to watch it out of principle at this point since I’ve seen the first two. So, go off and enjoy the rest of your Valentine’s Day as I over  analyze this movie. Happy Valentine’s Day! :)

— Liesel