To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You

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Kristin Smith

Movie Review

Lara Jean finally has the man of her dreams: Peter Kavinsky.

After months of pretend dating to make Peter’s ex-girlfriend jealous (as chronicled in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), Lara Jean and Peter are now the real deal. But it didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it may have never happened had Lara Jean’s little sister, Kitty, not mailed out five confessional love letters that Lara Jean wrote years ago.

A little embarrassing. But it all worked out. Lara Jean can now put those pesky letters behind her.

At least she thinks she can, until the very last recipient of one of her love letters responds. And it turns out this recipient, John Ambrose McClaren, was her biggest crush in middle school.

You’d think she could just ignore it all and move on. But when John Ambrose begins volunteering at the same community center as Lara Jean, things get complicated.

Now, Lara Jean will have to decide if the man of her dreams is all she’s made him to be. Or if, perhaps, the grass is greener on the other side of happily ever after.

Positive Elements

Lara Jean is typically self-assured and never caves to peer pressure. Although she is naturally reserved, she is quite aware of who she is. This is tested during the film, but in the end, Lara Jean makes amends with an enemy and apologizes to those she’s hurt. Peter, for his part, is often categorized as a jock with little heart. But this isn’t true. In fact, Peter goes out of his way to make Lara Jean feel loved, even if it’s in his own offbeat way. Lara Jean’s dad sets a curfew for his daughters and works hard to remain connected to each of them. It’s clear that Lara Jean and her family are tightly knit. Kitty, Lara Jean’s younger sister, tries to get her dad, a widower, to fall in love with their neighbor as she sees him struggle to move on from their deceased mother. Lara Jean and John Ambrose throw a “ball” for senior citizens to help them remember “the good times.” We learn the value of forgiveness, loyalty, truth and kindness.

Spiritual Elements

An elderly woman tries her hand at palm reading while living in a nursing home.

Sexual Content

Lara Jean interrupts her make-out session with Peter to tell him that’s she’s not interested in having sex (we see him attempt to unbutton her shirt). Peter says that he wasn’t asking for sex and would never pressure her to do something that makes her feel uncomfortable (although it’s clear that Peter is not a virgin and his sexual experience intimidates Lara Jean, who wonders if she herself is a “prude”). Lara Jean’s fear and jealously over Peter’s sexual past shows itself in various ways. Similarly, Peter gets jealous when John Ambrose flirts with Lara Jean. Lara Jean’s cousin sees a video of Lara Jean and Peter making out in a hot tub and assumes that they later had sex. Lara assures her they did not. Lara Jean’s best friend, Christine, tells Lara Jean that she should practice masturbating before she decides to have sex with Peter. Lara Jean is visibly uncomfortable with the conversation and cuts it short. Lara Jean’s dad flirts with his neighbor and the two hold hands. An elderly woman briefly brags to Lara Jean about multiple love affairs and tells her that “sometimes you have to kiss the wrong man” to know which one is right. Lara Jean and Peter, along with other couples, kiss, flirt, hug and make out. Lara Jean imagines what it would be like to date John Ambrose while dating Peter. Teens wear some cleavage-baring tops. A woman sticks a dollar bill in her bra. Lucas, a gay friend of Lara Jean’s, comments on how attractive his male classmates are. A lesbian couple snuggle up together at school. Couples slow dance.

Violent Content

Christine jokes about burying a dead body.

Crude or Profane Language

God’s name is misused four times. The s-word is heard three times (once in a song) and other profanity includes multiple utterances of “h—.” An elderly woman tells a competitor to “suck it.”

Drug and Alcohol Content

An elderly woman asks Lara Jean if she’d like a drink of alcohol and she declines the offer. Teens drink alcoholic beverages at a party. Men and women consume beer, liquor, mixed drinks and wine.

Other Negative Elements

Peter lies to Lara Jean about his past relationships, and his lack of judgment causes a rift between them. He also shows up late to their date and can often be selfish. Lara Jean allows her jealousy and insecurity to cloud her judgment. High schoolers make rude comments to one another about weight, sexual inexperience and speech impediments. A girl confesses that her parents are divorcing.

Conclusion

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was a huge success, sending teens across the world into a romantic frenzy when it landed on Netflix back in 2018. And now it’s happening again with part two: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You. Part of a trilogy by Jenny Han, this movie is a classic teenage love story. Its leading lady, Lara Jean, is reserved but confident, classy but quirky. And her love interest? Well, he’s every girl’s dream. But it turns out you can have more than one love interest and sometimes that can be…. messy. And that’s a good way to characterize this film: a bit messy. Lara Jean stands for a lot that’s good, something we don’t always see in teenage romances. She’s moral, kind, considerate and values her virginity (a very uncommon theme these days). And even though those around her may cave to peer pressure, she doesn’t. Plus, teens learn that “happily ever after” doesn’t really exist, and that relationships take a lot of hard work. But that doesn’t mean that this film is squeaky clean. Sexual content is prevalent here, teens consume alcohol and utter a lot of foul language. And even though this TV-14 flick is cleaner than some of its competitors, that doesn’t mean you won’t need to do some research of your own before deciding if this is a film you’ll want to stream.

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Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).