In August 2018, it seemed every teenage girl in the United States had fallen in love with Noah Centineo, or more specifically, Peter Kavinsky. That month, Netflix had released its original film “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” based on the book series of the same title.
Almost instantly, the movie became a smashing sensation and a romantic interpretation of young love that also featured complex characters. However, on Feb. 12, 2020, the series returned with its second movie in the trilogy and left me and other viewers dissatisfied.
The sequel “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” develops the relationship between the two main characters, Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), after the first had chronicled their tumultuous fairytale relationship. The film also introduces a third main character and another recipient of Lara Jean’s letters, John Ambrose, played by the Disney Channel veteran Jordan Fisher.
The movie begins with Lara Jean and Peter’s very first “official” date as a couple. Just a few minutes in, the cringe-filled lines begin: “I’ve never been a girlfriend before” and “I hope I’m good at it.” Although this didn’t seem like a great start, I had high hopes for the rest of the movie after how much I liked the first one.
Unfortunately, the film continues with awkward conversation between Lara Jean and Peter following awkward conversation. John Ambrose quickly became my only source of relief, his charming smile and easy jokes making up for the rest of the questionable plotline.
Why, for example, does Peter spend so much time with his ex-girlfriend Gen without telling the girl he supposedly “loves?” Why does Lara Jean, a supposedly honest and honorable girl, hide her relationship with Peter from John Ambrose? Why does John Ambrose get left behind at the end, when he really is the saving grace of the film?
By the end of the movie, Peter has lost all his charm, instead becoming a jealous, secretive boyfriend most characters would quickly drop. His relationship with Lara Jean seems especially inconsistent and untrustworthy, and the only real emotion I’m feeling is pity for John Ambrose’s fate. (He deserved better!)
However, “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” is backed by a stellar soundtrack, led by the new, catchy hit “Moral of the Story” and supporting characters like the hilariously honest Kitty Covey, Lara Jean’s best friend Lucas and John Ambrose’s biggest fan and retirement home resident Stormy.
With a third movie in the post-production stages, I can only hope that the “To All the Boys” trilogy will end as well as it began, even if the second movie failed to live up to my high expectations.
Rating: 2/5 stars.
Story by Maddie Stout
Photo provided by Netflix/Bettina Strauss