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Review: ‘To All the Boys: P.S I Still Love You’ is Surprisingly Good

February 12, 2020
5 min read

In ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’, Lara Jean Covey is presented with an extremely embarrassing situation when her younger sister mails her love letters. These were the letters written at different points of time, in different phases of her life. She never confessed to any of her crushes but dealt with her feelings for them through intimate letters that were just for her. That was until Kitty came across them and decided to do something for her sister’s love life.

At first, it looked like the worst thing to have ever happened to Lara Jean, but then it turned out to be the best when she got together with Peter Kavinsky. After some glitches and hesitations, Lara Jean decided to give it a go with him, and it ended happily ever after for them. Well, not really. It didn’t end, and happily ever after is a trickier notion than propagated by romance novels and dreamy Hollywood romcoms. ‘To All the Boys: P.S I Still Love You’ takes Lara Jean on the journey that shows her the perils of falling in love. And also, there is another letter that she needs to deal with.

Now that Lara Jean and Peter are officially in a relationship, it is time for the first date, first Valentine, and somewhere down the line, the first fight. While she enjoys a wonderful time with her boyfriend, a letter finds its way to her. It is a reply, from John Ambrose, for the letter she had written to him when she was eleven. She wonders if she should reply to him, but before she can come to a decision, he comes back in town. He likes her, and she likes him too. But what about Peter?

To All the Boys: P.S I Still Love You Review

There are only so many angles that romcoms ever explore. The story of a girl meets boy, contradicting personalities, past relationships, and contracts turning into real relationships- all of these tropes have been used again and again and again. And yet, we always wind up right here, with an ice-cream bowl (or, what’s your poison) in reality and a dreamy relationship in fiction. Movies like ‘To All the Boys’ show exactly why the charm of such movies will never wear off.

If the first movie was about the making of an impossible match, the sequel focuses on the contrasts that Lara Jean and Peter have to make peace with in order to keep their romance going. When Kitty tries to hitch their father with the next-door neighbour, Lara Jean advises her not to meddle as the whole idea is impossible. Turns out, her sister is better versed in the matters of the heart. At home, Lara Jean misreads the connection between her father and Trina because she believes that her father still goes by the same rules. With Peter, she makes the same mistake and this gives rise to a crack in their relationship.

The entry of John Ambrose makes her scratch at this crack until it becomes a chasm. Here we see two sides of Lara Jean, which is a great expansion of her character as compared to the one we met in the previous film. She was confident before, but now she is confused. Her liking for Peter has sprouted up insecurity in her heart, especially about his relationship with Gen, his ex-girlfriend and her ex-best friend. Every time she is with him, she thinks more about his past than about their present.

Then there is the last letter she wrote. When she receives a reply and finds herself in close quarters with the subject of that letter, she finds herself entertaining another possibility. She is confused about her feelings for this new person, which makes her even more confused about her feelings for Peter. Add to that the let downs, though not intentional, from her boyfriend which give her a justification.

‘To All the Boys: P.S I Still Love’ does not use the trick of a love triangle the same way a plethora of other films have before it. Instead of focusing on the fact that the protagonist has options, or why one man is better than the other one for her, it focuses on the complex new grounds that Lara Jean has to tread. There isn’t even a question of who she’ll choose in the end. We already know the answer. But how she’ll learn from her mistakes and grow beyond her insecurities is what makes this film worth a watch.

Other than that, the fans receive a worthwhile time as Lara Jean is showered with love and those dreamy dates with Peter. He says the lines that melt your heart, and she bakes the cakes that you wish someone would bake for you. It is the fairy-tale, though with a bit of realism, that everyone wants. Why else would they have an octogenarian who serves as the heroine’s guardian angel?

Rating: 3/5

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