“P.S. I Still Love You” is the much anticipated sequel to “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” the 2018 adaptation based on the novel by Jenny Han. The Netflix original movie follows the love life of Lara Jean Song-Covey (Lana Condor) after the fiasco in which her personal love letters are sent out to all her ex-crushes. Lara Jean winds up in a relationship with Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) and although their romance did not start in a conventional way, the pair seem to be the perfect match until another recipient of a love letter shows up at Lara Jean’s front door.
Directed by Michael Fimognari, the film did an excellent job at faithfully portraying each of the characters from the books. Each shot was cute, quirky and vibrant with colors. From Lara Jean’s untidy bedroom to the grandness of the retirement home, each set seemed to reflect Lara Jean’s personality as well as her taste for extravagance. The soundtrack was filled with indie pop artists such as Anna of the North and Asche, which helped set the romantic tone of the film.
In this film, Condor and Centineo are joined by Jordan Fisher, who plays the role of John Ambrose McClaren, a new love interest set on winning Lara Jean’s heart. Though John Ambrose was introduced at the end of the first film, at the time he was played by Jordan Burtchett. Presumably, the writers were unsure of how the first film would be received and John Ambrose was only meant to be a tease for the fans who have read the rest of Han’s books.
In the book, John Ambrose was said to have looked like “a young Robert Redford” with hair that was “sunny and fair like white summer corn.” Fisher may not match the physical description of John Ambrose, but he did manage to steal hearts with his portrayal of the beloved character. Fisher even managed to showcase his own talents with the piano and on the dance floor.
Trina Rothschild (Sarayu Rao) was another new character that was introduced in this sequel. Ms. Rothschild was a love interest for Lara Jean’s widowed father. The love story between Ms. Rothschild and Mr. Covey in the film was a bit more rushed than in the books, as more focus was placed on Lara Jean’s love life. However, the director did a good job at ensuring that Ms. Rothschild was likeable and understanding of Lara Jean’s family dynamic. She does not act like she could ever replace Lara Jean’s mother, but she does treat the Song sisters with respect.
One aspect in which the film lacked was in creating a strong connection between Ms. Rothschild and the Song sisters. There are moments in the film where we see Kitty, Lara Jean’s little sister, attempt to push their father into a relationship with Ms. Rothschild, but this seemed forced. There wasn’t enough interaction between Kitty and Ms. Rothschild to justify why Kitty would think that she was the perfect person for her father to be with. The relationship between Ms. Rothschild and the girls could have been explored more to show how having a motherly figure back in their life affects them, especially now that the girls are older and have been living without a mother for a long time.
The best change this movie made from the book was taking steps toward mending the relationship between Lara Jean and Genevieve (Emilija Baranac). In the book, Genevieve was depicted as too stubborn and spiteful to ever try and fix her relationship with Lara Jean and in the first film, there was a definite feud between the two characters. The two girls still dislike each other in this film, but by the end they seem to reminisce on their old friendship. It was nice to see Genevieve’s character begin to soften and there is potential in expanding their bond even more in the next film.
Overall, this book to movie adaptation was well-done. Though specific parts in the book were cut out or altered in the film, the director did his best to stay true to the source material. This film is the perfect rom-com for couples to enjoy and for single people to cry over.
This sequel has left fans excited for more. Due to the success of the first film, the third and final installment of the film franchise, “Always and Forever Lara Jean,” has already finished filming and is set to be released in 2021.
Verdict: Lana Condor’s performance with Noah Centineo and Jordan Fisher brought author Jenny Han’s characters to life. This quirky teen rom-com, with its diverse cast and relatable characters, is not to be overlooked this Valentine’s Day season.