IN A LOT of ways, To All the Boys 2: I Still Love You, is a set up before the big reveal that is the third movie in the series. The latest movie in the John Hughes-inspired romantic comedy series starring Lana Condor and Noah Centineo showed how the new couple navigates through their new relationship while semi-dealing with each of their issues.
Semi-dealing, because for people who have read the novels by Jenny Han, the show is a cute intermission piece for what happens in the third book.
The third film in the series, To All The Boys: Always and Forever, Lara Jean was shot back-to-back with the second film.
“My whole thing for the sequel is like I want her to use her voice better and I wanted her to take up more space. I think [in the sequel] she is not as alone — she has more supportive friends and family and the way she holds herself a little bit more upright,” Ms. Condor told the media during a video conference on Feb. 13.
(The video conference was held in lieu of the press tour and fan meet for the film which were cancelled because of the COVID-19 virus outbreak.)
She’s right: the first few scenes we see of Lara Jean Covey is her reveling in her new relationship with Peter Kavinsky, set to the tune of The Crystal’s “Then He Kissed Me.” She is walking confidently in the hallways of her school and is incredibly supportive of her friends, Chris and Trevor, dating.
But while the film is chockful of the romantic moments — the first date, the first kiss, and a paper lantern promise — which is expected of the genre, it also highlights that the foundations on which Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship is built on are not as solid as they think.
(Mild spoilers ahead.)
She may have found confidence but deep inside, Lara Jean is still insecure, especially with Peter starts hanging out with his ex, Gen. Her insecurities about the relationship lead her to grow closer to John Ambrose, one of the boys who had received her love letters.
Ms. Condor noted that what John Ambrose afforded Lara Jean was comfort and calm while Peter gives her passion and excitement.
But like any self-respecting John Hughes tribute, the conflicts turn out to be due to communication issues.
“Just be honest about where you’re coming from, and about what you’re dealing with in the moment with your significant other, you know, most things can be sorted or ironed out with communication,” Mr. Centineo said in the video conference.
Mr. Centineo said that Peter was not without faults as he is someone who is wont to pretend that something is okay when it isn’t and that is something he needs to grow out of.
“When I first watched the movie, I wanted to scream at Lara Jean… I do understand as a young person I understand her having a hard time [communicating and being honest with yourself and with others], but I definitely was screaming at the screen like ‘just say something’!” Ms. Condor said.
But despite the misgivings of both Peter and Lara Jean, Ms. Condor assured the press that while Lara Jean grow a lot in the sequel, “ultimately it’ll be most fulfilling when you watch the third movie.”
“She really comes fully into her own in the third movie,” she said.
For all its teenage angst, To All the Boys 2 presents the Korean concept of jung or jeong, or the unbreakable connection between people even when love turns to hate. Oh, and that we all need a fairy grandmother like Stormy (Holland Taylor).
To All The Boys 2: I Still Love You is directed by Michael Fimognari and is available on Netflix. — Zsarlene B. Chua