So, after last week’s recommendation for the first group, the subject of this week’s review, is my top (and very obvious) choice to fill this second category: a two-part marathon of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and its sequel, P.S. I Still Love You!
What makes these two film adaptations of Jenny Han’s YA novels the perfect recipe for warm escapism?
It’s the sugar-sweet tone of each character and the plot overall (not to mention the just as sweet and candy colored visuals), tempered with enough quirky details and legitimate high school missteps to feel like a real world.
Lara Jean Covey, the 16-year old girl whose secret love letters are somehow sent to her past crushes in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, is the right amount of actual awkward alongside dreamy lover of love to let you fall into her dream worlds of romance and hope.
Now, I know most people have at least seen the first movie by now, but I still won’t spoil anything major because if you haven’t seen them, I want you to enjoy all the little twists and turns.
But, to give everyone a general sense of the two films, where To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a very cute YA comedy of errors romance, the second (P.S. I Still Love You) leans more heavily into the dynamics of high school relationships and steps away from the more crazy cute antics that set-up the premise of the first film.
Lara Jean’s family intertwines with her romantic plot-line in both films, playing a refreshingly huge role in her navigation of high school and life (a far more realistic take than the usual “my family is so annoying” or a non-existent presence that plays out in many classic teen movies). Lara Jean is from a distinctly biracial family – as defined in the opening scene of the first movie, where her Caucasian gynecologist father tries to cook the family a Korean dinner, a la their late mother. The second film continues this trend, even including more about Lara Jean’s extended family and her connection to her Korean culture (including this very funny and very cute scene recapping the first movie while wearing traditional Korean clothing).
While the original set-up may be a little ridiculous (but, let’s be honest, all the best rom-com set-ups are!), what you appreciate most by the end of each movie is the sweetness at their cores – a family that supports each other; friends that always show up; and guys who want to be good boyfriends. You walk away with not only a cute (though a bit predictable) high school romance, but with the feeling that good things happen to good people as long as you work to be open and kind.
In the swirl of “young adult” content, these adaptations are handling the YA rom-com with the utmost care and attention to detail, producing a warm and wholesome high school romance with a healthy splash of coming-of-age clumsiness – the sort of wholesome teenage dream that we all can escape into for at least a few hours!
Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.
Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.
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