Starring: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Jordan Fisher
Director: Michael Fimognari
Running Time: 102 mins
To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You is an American film and the sequel to To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Now settling into her new relationship, Lara Jean suddenly finds her world turned upside down when she gets a reply to her love letter sent to one of her past crushes.
The follow-up to what was an enjoyable but in all truth a fairly generic teen romance, To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You surprises on a number of levels. Bringing complex and insightful emotional depth into a genre where it’s regularly lacking, the film balances enjoyable romance with captivating themes throughout.
If there’s one way that this film stakes its claim right from the start, it’s that it’s a totally different animal to its predecessor. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was a coming-of-age teen romance, following young Lara Jean as she navigates the difficulties of high school, adolescence and young love.
This sequel, however, takes a very different tack on young romance, pushing further into an analysis of teenage relationships, as well as some challenging and original themes that I’ve never come across before in what is so often a painfully formulaic genre.
At firs, the film strikes up a surprisingly enthralling look at the reality of love, when emotions for people who you may have been apart from for years don’t always die out – even if you’re in a relationship at present. That’s an idea that I’ve never seen tackled in such detail and with such heart on the big screen, and this film does a great job at making it a relevant and often even thought-provoking part of the story.
But the real strength of this sequel is in its stunningly earnest and frank analysis of teen relationships. Adult romance films often focus on dysfunctional relationships, but teen romance movies are more often than not a little more idealistic and picture-perfect.
To All The Boys 2, however, doesn’t hold back in its portrayal of the rocky and complex nature of relationships in the real-world. There are moments when the characters act in rather melodramatic fashion, and the film certainly doesn’t have the emotional complexity or impact of movies about dysfunctional adult relationships (Kramer vs. Kramer, Marriage Story).
However, the fact that this film even dares to take on topics as complex as those dealt with in classics like the two mentioned above is hugely impressive. It’s an engrossing and impressively earnest look at the realities of love and relationships, and shakes off any high school trivialities established in the first film in favour of genuine and captivating dramatic depth.
The film does often tend towards melodrama, and certainly doesn’t have the deeply moving emotional depth needed to let its main themes really hit home. Saying that, however, it’s an ambitious teen romance that impressively steers clear of genre tropes, instead tackling interesting and complex themes with intelligence and depth throughout. So, that’s why I’m giving To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You a 7.4 overall.