The long-awaited second installment of the “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” trilogy came out on Netflix on Wednesday, Feb. 12. But before it hit America’s TVs and other devices, Netflix let the press be their test audience. Here at the Raider Times, we were able to participate in one of these special screenings.
After making our way down to the Boston Seaport and checking into the event, we were each given a complimentary notebook and were invited to make a plate from a buffet of appetizers. After having sufficient time to nibble on snacks and talk excitedly about the movie, we were ushered into the theatre. Displayed on the enormous screen was the promotional cover photo for the movie featuring the stars, Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, and series newcomer Jordan Fisher.
“To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” picks up right where the first movie ends. It’s a new semester, and Lara Jean and Peter are officially dating, no secrets or rules involved. However, Lara Jean has never been a girlfriend before and soon faces the harsh realization that relationships aren’t as perfect as they initially seem. And when one of her old crushes, John Ambrose McClaren, comes back into her life, things get even more complicated. Lara Jean must figure out her feelings before she loses her chance to be with either boy. Who will she choose?
Coming out of the movie, we all had slightly different opinions. However we agreed on a few things. First, the movie was simply gorgeous. Similarly to the original movie, every scene was aesthetically beautiful, each shot obviously carefully planned with exquisite attention to detail. No matter what was happening in the story, the background was invariably the kind of scene that made you want to dive right into the screen.
Second, the new members of the cast, Jordan Fisher (John Ambrose), Ross Butler (Trevor), and Holland Taylor (Stormy) were all welcome additions. Each added a new element to the story with their characters — an old crush, a friend, and a trusty confidante, respectively. Though we still got plenty of screen time with most of the characters we have come to love since the first movie, it was a nice change to see some new faces in Lara Jean’s world.
Unfortunately, there was noticeably less time devoted to Lara Jean’s relationship with her sisters, which was one of the best parts of the first movie. However, Lara Jean’s dad did get a cute subplot, so her family wasn’t completely out of the picture.
Third, despite some small plot holes, the story was just what audiences were looking for. Though the movie definitely had a different feel from the first installment in the series, it still had many of the same elements we have come to know and love, like its (mostly) realistic portrayal of teenage romances and friendships and the voice over narration by Lara Jean.
Despite all of the good, there were definitely some problems. Awkward transitions from plot point to plot point hurt the movie’s flow. Some transitions were laughably bad, including the memorable sudden mention of a time capsule (which eventually became a major plot point) in a conversation about an unrelated topic.
Some costumes were questionable as well, as Lara Jean’s would-be Cinderella moment was accompanied by groans and chuckles from the audience at the awkward blue tulle number she had donned.
Additionally, by the end of the movie, we found we liked the characters significantly less than we had at the beginning. While we were initially rooting for Lara Jean, Peter, and John Ambrose, we eventually realized that we had become annoyed with their characters’ choices.
We also agreed that we liked the first movie better, so unfortunately this wasn’t one of those rare sequels that beats the first movie. However, it was still entertaining and fun and had the audience alternately screaming, awwing, and laughing.
And the third and last installment in the series has already been filmed, though there isn’t currently a set release date, so who knows? Maybe that one will top them all!
–Feb. 27, 2020–