When To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before first dropped on Netflix, it became a massive overnight hit. It wasn’t exactly difficult to see why. What, with the colorful aesthetics, representation, and a refreshing romance, this movie had all the elements of success.
Knowing all this, you’d find it no surprise that everyone was waiting for the sequel to come out, eager to see just where this story could take them. And this is where the trouble hits paradise.
See, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, P.S.: I Still Love You kind of gave us all that we didn’t expect. And, yes, we’re telling you just why and how.
Warning: may contain spoilers
This ambitious sequel begins where To All The Boys Part 1 stops at: the growing, tentative romance between Lara-Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky. And, yes, as you can expect it’s about the cutest thing you’ll lay your eyes on, winter carnival and all.
The actual plot kicks off when John Ambrose McLaren, one of the five boys Lara-Jean wrote a love letter for, finally responds to his letter. A flustered Lara-Jean considers writing him back, though she ultimately doesn’t do that.
In addition to her anxiety attack of a relationship with Peter, Lara-Jean and the high school gang navigate, well, high school and all its volunteering opportunities for college. Our protagonist volunteers at a senior citizen retirement home and, of course, this is where the fun begins.
See, John Ambrose makes a comeback in her life and so does the chaos in the form of a love triangle.
Now, if all of this seems rushed to you, it’s probably because it is. The plot, although there, is very flat and seems rather pointless. And the love triangle? Well, we’re not sure we can really call it that. It was rather on the underdeveloped side and didn’t give us much to work with.
In the first movie, the characters were endearing and just in that perfect spot between being “too quirky and unrealistic” and “overdoing it”.
In the sequel, though, we’re not really sure of what to make of the characters’ development because, for some, they seem a bit off.
Lara-Jean spends about 8/10th of the movie anxious, confused, and upset, which can be chalked up to the ton of insecurities unlocked with adolescence. However, in the first movie, Lara-Jean also showed us that other than getting easily overwhelmed, she also had a strong personality and a level-headed outlook that sometimes disappears in this sequel.
As for the two other protagonists, well, we just think they deserved more.
Peter Kavinsky has finally proved that his being deemed “too unrealistic” in the first movie would backfire, as he joined ranks with every other toxic king. In this movie, he was nothing like First Movie’s Peter — too petty, jealous out of nowhere, and with a lot of double standards to boot.
John Ambrose, on the other hand, was sweet but if we’re being honest, he didn’t get enough dialogue or screen-time to develop a personality.
Our Final Verdict
We really don’t want to be the ones who say this, but To All The Boys 2 took a really great first movie and sent it on a downward slope. It’s not clear what went wrong as they adapted the second book of Jenny Han’s series, but the film seemed to lose part of its charm.
Maybe it’s the odd, wonky character development, maybe it’s the plot thinness, maybe it’s the pacing, we’re not sure. All we’re sure of is that they can try for more in the third and final movie.