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April 20, 2020

To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020) --- “First Love. Last Letter.”


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Hello, Movie Buffs!
The world agrees that young love’s grand. Look at those two go hand in hand. But in letter form, trouble comes. Sad music plays along with hums. A former friend from long ago re-enters their lives, causing woe. Which boy to pick for her love true? You guessed it, folks! I won’t tell you. This sequel offers a sweet tale. As a rom-com, it does not fail. Still, love scenes might seem much too bland for sophisticates in our land. The target viewers? High school range. I think it’s swell for teens that age.
~ Jenny Han
     It’s a new year and Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) have taken their relationship from pretend to officially official. As Lara Jean navigates her way as a first-time girlfriend, John Ambrose (Jordan Fisher), another recipient of one of her old love letters, enters her life again by replying to her letter. Now as she experiences complex emotions that come with balancing a relationship and figuring out her authentic self, Lara Jean must confront her first real dilemma: Can she love two boys at the same time? Directed by Michael Fimognari (To All The Boys: Always and Forever) and written by Sofia Alvarez (To All The  Boys I’ve Loved Before) and J. Mills Goodloe (The Mountain Between Us, Everything, Everything), To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020) is the sequel film to Netflix’s teen rom-com based off of the New York Times Bestselling series by Jenny Han
     When it comes to trilogies the second installment can sometimes be the hardest to love because it is tasked with delivering a more mature narrative arc that creates tension and seems to almost entirely disrupt whatever headway was made in the first film. Michael Fimognari, who served as the cinematographer for the first film, takes over for Susan Johnson as director for the sequel and writes a love letter to the first film. Although P.S. I Still Love You has the same rom-com formula as its predecessor, this film is about more than just romance or comedy. The story takes place a few weeks after the first film and explores a number of themes such as what might have been had you picked someone else, the vulnerability that comes with being in a relationship, and the strain that comes with discovering who you are in a relationship versus as an individual - particularly at an age when one’s sense of self is subject to much scrutiny by fellow peers. Also, the story relies less on Lara Jean’s voiceover to immerse the viewers which demonstrates that as Lara Jean matures so do the viewers, using it more as a conversation between friends.
     In addition to the story, the production quality and eye-catching color palette that we saw in the first film continues to go above and beyond what one might expect from a teen rom-com Netflix film. Fimognari honors the original film by replicating the same soft and warm visual style that is associated with Lara Jean and puts his own spin on it.
     The cast performances were great once again. Lana Condor and Noah Centineo continue to show why they are perfect to play Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky, and their easy chemistry still jumps off the screen. Jordan Fisher (Archibald’s Next Big Thing) easily conveys how John Ambrose has eyes for Lara Jean with flashed smiles and neatly placed references to past bonding moments they shared. The script makes a strong case as to why John Ambrose might be an alternative choice for Lara Jean but it doesn’t try to make it seem like he’s better than Peter only that he brings something new to the table and their connection is obvious. The supporting cast is great as well. Especially John Corbett (47 Meters Down Uncaged) who has a few bright scenes with a possible new love interest and Holland Taylor (Mr. Mercedes) as Stormy, the spitfire in the retirement home who is a lovely addition and offers some much-needed advice to Lara Jean.

     Overall, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020) is an entertaining and very well made sequel to the original film. Although the second installment in a trilogy can be the hardest to love because it usually creates tension and seems to almost undo all the work of the first film, P.S. I Still Love You managed to be better than the first film. The original cast proves once again why they were perfect for their roles and the new additions help freshen up and bring something new to the story. I highly recommend this film, especially if your a fan of the first one.

Final Vote --- 7.8 of 10 stars

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To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020)

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