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‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You’: Roundtable Discussion

There’s still love to give and love to further define as Lara Jean’s journey continues. Pure Fandom’s writers, Adele, Lynsey, and Meg, discuss the sequel to the hit Netflix romcom To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before… and we have a lot of feelings.

Check it out!

What was your favorite moment?

Adele: That scene between Lara Jean and Gen in their childhood tree house. Of all the people I imagined Lara Jean texted, I never thought it would be her. It was unexpected, and I loved it.

It not only allowed us to see a more vulnerable part of Gen, but also learn more about how close the two were when they were children, with their friendship bracelets and all. And it helped Lara Jean move forward so it was a pretty important moment for her. I really liked the voiceover behind it – Lara Jean talking about that Korean word that perfectly describes their relationship. Plus the way it was shot, with the close shots of their hands fiddling with their bracelets and sitting far apart, just like they grew apart in their lives, was very beautiful.

I also really liked the scene where John Ambrose tells Lara Jean that she’s the reason why people call him John Ambrose while he’s playing the piano… That was a very cute moment between the two.

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Lynsey: I think mine is the most well done moment in the movie. When Lara Jean texts someone “will you meet me” you think it’s either Peter or John Ambrose, but it’s not. It’s Gen. One of the things I like about Lara Jean is she is very mature, especially in regards to self examination. She’s able to do a personal inventory way better than any teenager I’ve ever met. And that’s something that usually lacks in teen romcoms.

So, as Lara Jean recognizes she made some mistakes as well, she decides to go to the root of her insecurities, and talks them out. We also got to see Gen open up as well, how she’s feeling about Lara Jean, Peter, and her parents splitting. It really was just a conversation with two people that cared about each other once and respected their history enough to try to mend fences. At the end you could see they came to an understanding and were also beginning to heal. Also, Lara Jean saying “Gen and I are jung” made me smile.

Meg: I absolutely loved the piano scene with John Ambrose and Lara Jean. It was such a sweet moment and an adorable reveal on it’s own, but when you add in the piano playing it became next level. It was so magical. And then him admitting that he only goes by John Ambrose because she started calling him that and because she said she liked that it was a thing they had in common – AHHH. Just the cutest! 

Anything you would have changed?

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A: I would have added more scenes with Lucas! I was kind of sad we didn’t see much of him in the second movie, although that scene with Lara Jean during the party was pretty sweet. I love all the friendships in this movie.

L: I would have liked more Stormy, and her backstory. I love that trope of an older woman offering her vast wisdom and experience about love, and any other facet of life. And how their advice usually boils down to “take the risk, because I wish I had!” And I love how Lara Jean and John Ambrose wanted to make everyone at the home feel like people and not just old people by throwing them a dance. It was really sweet. So yes, more Lara Jean and Stormy.

Also, can we stop with the Subway ads? I mean, ads are fine I guess, but do the Subway ads have to always be in the dialogue? Can’t LJ and PK just drive by a Subway billboard?

M: I wish we could have had more sister moments. I think one of my favorite things about the first movie was the bond that the three sisters shared and how authentic it felt. I would have loved to see more of that. 

It was a tough choice, but ultimately a choice us as viewers and Lara Jean has to make. Are you Team Peter or Team John Ambrose?

A: I think I changed my mind a lot during the movie but ultimately, I went back to Team Peter. He kind of annoyed me at some point but what sold it to me is that moment when, even if they were broken up, he came to pick up Lara Jean because he knows she doesn’t like to drive in the snow. How cute was that?!

I think it also comes from the fact that we’ve known Peter longer and he was an absolute sweetheart in the first movie, so it made it hard for me to switch teams. John Ambrose was amazing too, though, and I would have totally gotten it if Lara Jean had chosen him in the end.

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L: Firstly, what’s awesome about this love triangle (a sentence I never  thought I would write) is it’s between two genuinely nice guys. More often than not it’s between the nice guy and the a**hole. But, as teenagers often do, they make some mistakes along the way.

The movie starts with Lara Jean and Peter making a promise to not break each other’s hearts, and from the get go, we understood that rocky times were ahead for them. Then here comes John Ambrose McClaren. Who volunteers at the old folks home, who reads, who’s a HUFFLEPUFF btw, who’s kind, who has the most gorgeous smile, WHO CAN PLAY THE PIANO, and let’s not forget he goes by the name that Lara Jean gave him. HIS LITERAL IDENTITY IS FOREVER LINKED TO HERS. All of these signs of perfection and Lara Jean saying “it’s easy with John Ambrose” all point to… why it’s Peter in the end.

Listen, it’s easy with John Ambrose because he’s basically a version of her. And it’s also easy with him because she’s not overthinking what it means to be a “girlfriend” all the time. Once Lara Jean gets over her hang ups about what she should be, rather than being supportive in a relationship as herself, that ease would be reintroduced in Peter and Lara Jean’s relationship. So, for all their similarities, I’m sorry to say that it’s not John Ambrose. He’s a friend, and doesn’t need him in that way. Besides, she already has herself.

Peter challenges her, and she does the same for him. So, when Peter Kavinsky shows up at the dance because he knows she doesn’t like to drive in the snow (SAME, LJ) it’s clear Peter realizes the promise to not break each other’s hearts was basically a guarantee that they will. That kind of promise is like lighting a match while being constantly afraid everything will catch fire. And doing anything to avoid a potential fight leads to secrets, which leads to lies, which leads to broken trust. Peter’s “break my heart, Covey” not only had major Mr. Darcy walking across the field vibes the way he saunters up the steps, but it also meant that they can fight and be honest and be stronger for it. And to me, that’s the relationship that has a deeper love and longevity.

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M: I think I would answer this differently if I was asked as a teenager, but my over 30 self is John Ambrose all the way. He is such a good guy. He saw Lara Jean when she still felt invisible and I love that. And I’m sorry, I love Peter, but that whole hot tub lie thing really got me. It was super sweet that he went to pick her up because it was snowing, but it doesn’t erase the hot tub revelation. Also, John Ambrose plays piano and would never take the last slice of pizza. He is the best. 

Do you have a favorite supporting character?

A: One of my favorite part of the movie is that all the supporting characters are great in their own ways, the old and new ones, so it’s hard for me to pick only one… but I’ll say Kitty, because she’s hilarious and adorable, both in the first and second movies. Best little sister ever.

Plus, as she says so herself, nothing would have happened if she hadn’t sent those letters.

L: It has to be Stormy, as I’ve said before. But I also like her dad, and how he got a love interest in this movie as well. And I love how it wasn’t a thing that Lara Jean had to brood over, she genuinely just wants her dad to be happy.

M: STORMY! I love her and I really wish we could have seen more of her. She was so interesting! 

What is it about these movies (and book series if you’ve read them) that you think has people everywhere so invested?

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A: Lara Jean is a character who loves to get lost in her books and world of fiction, and I guess that a lot of people who love movies and fiction (and rom-coms in particular) can relate to that part of who she is. These movies tell a lovely story, with a happy ending. Plus, all the characters, whether they have a small or big role are funny and relatable, so it really helps to get invested and want to know more about them. And, well… it started with the fake dating trope… what better than that?!

L: I think it’s because it’s a series that puts these characters in real teenage situations, like who you’re going to the party with for example, and examines them maturely. These movies take themselves seriously without being too serious. They add a layer of nuance, respect, and maturity that isn’t typical in a teen romcom. And because of that I think TATBILB revitalized the whole genre. Also, an Asian female lead? In a romcom? That’s not just playing Hot Girl 1? That’s basically nonexistent, and it gives a voice to the underrepresented in mainstream Hollywood.

M: I am a sucker for a fake dating trope, but I think what really draws people in is how relatable Lara Jean is. There is just something so endearing about her and her dreamer ways. 

Do you have a favorite relationship (that’s not Lara Jean/Peter or Lara Jean/John Ambrose)?

A: Lara Jean and Stormy was a fun, very touching grandmother/granddaughter-type of relationship in the second movie. I loved how she gave advice to Lara Jean and that whole scene with the dress.

L: My favorite relationship would have to be Lara Jean and her baked goods.

M: I thought the Gen/Lara Jean relationship was very interesting in this movie. Breaking up with a friend is really, really hard and I love that they spent time on that. They are likely never going to be the friends they once were, but I like how they came to sort of a common peaceful point. They both did things to hurt the other person and it was nice to see them talk it out a little. 

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Catch To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You only on Netflix!

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Lynsey

Lynsey is a proud Hufflepuff. Find her watching anything from BoJack Horseman to Grey's Anatomy. She loves to read... especially if it features dragons and a good cry. If you ask her what she's doing she will most likely respond "I probably should be writing." Find her on Twitter, to theorize, geek out, and to obsess about Olicity.

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