Arts and Entertainment

To All the Readers: P.S. I Liked This Movie

In its attempt to live up to the bar set by its predecessor, “To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” serves as a heartwarming rom-com fans crave, despite falling flat at certain points.

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I am a hopeless romantic; I’ll admit it. And like hopeless romantics, I love a good romantic comedy. “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You” is no exception. The film, directed by Michael Fimognari, is entertaining to watch, emulating the cliches of a rom-com with a modern-day twist appealing to many audiences. Though it doesn’t necessarily reach the standard set by its wonderful predecessor, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” “P.S. I Still Love You” is an overall great continuation of the storyline.

“P.S. I Still Love You” follows junior Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) and her boyfriend Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) as they navigate their budding relationship. The pair first couple up in “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” after Lara Jean’s old love letters were sent out by her younger sister, Kitty (Anna Cathcart). But just as the two begin to find their footing as a couple, a childhood crush of Lara Jean’s and another recipient of one of her love letters—John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Fisher)—re-enters her life. What ensues is a heartwarming story about what it means to fall in love in high school.

The chemistry between Condor and Centineo is undeniable. They execute their respective roles seamlessly as the classic rom-com couple. Lara Jean is the shy, hopeless romantic who overthinks everything but can be bold when she knows what she wants. Similarly, Condor is naturally an introvert and in an interview with “The Cut,” said that she “was similar to Lara Jean in high school,” making her well prepared for the role. A foil to Lara Jean’s shy nature, Centineo plays opposite her as the archetypal popular jock, delivering a solid, if not groundbreaking, performance.

The movie uses color as a means to further its emotional arc. During the couple’s breakup, both the costumes and scenery reflect their sadness, shifting from vibrant colors to neutral, darker tones. This is a stark contrast to the majority of the movie, which is cast in bright and contrasting tones, most notably berry pinks and seafoam greens. Even when the script or acting seems to fall short, the movie is still visually pleasing, the cheerful color scheme reflecting the youthful, if not serious, nature of the movie that most likely attracted its audience in the first place.

The “To All the Boys” franchise is an adaptation of the book series of the same name by Jenny Han. The series is a quintessential YA romance, with a feel-good ending and predictable plot. It follows then that the movie adaptation would be weak in the same areas as the novels. There are areas in which it pleasantly surprises though. A common critique of the novels was Lara Jean’s unrealistically childish character, something that did not carry over into the movies as Condor brought maturity to the teenager. The movie did significantly simplify the plot of the novel, a given in such an adaptation, and at times, it came at the cost of the development of the relationships between Lara Jean and her two love interests.

As a result, the romantic arcs feel rushed, with the couples swinging between conflict and resolution. These discrepancies detract from the authenticity of Peter and Lara Jean’s connection in comparison to John Ambrose and Lara Jean’s connection and why she chooses one over the other. As someone who read the books, it would have been nice to see those details incorporated into Han’s preexisting, carefully constructed plot. Especially when sequels have a notorious reputation of being significantly worse than their predecessor, Han and Fimognari should have stayed closer to the original storyline.

What does “P.S. I Still Love You” represent? Well, a few things. It demonstrates that rom-coms are still prevalent and largely accepted in today’s society and proves that book-to-film adaptations are a great way to bring characters we could only imagine in books to the screen. But it also shows that sequels, despite all the hype surrounding them, have the potential to fall flat, whether it be the actual plot or the characters. Nevertheless, “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” gives much to love and swoon over, no matter if you’re Team John, Team Peter, or just a hopeless romantic like me.