Nearly 18 months after To All the Boys I've Loved Before hit Netflix and liquified the hearts of viewers everywhere, Lara Jean and Peter are back in To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, which landed on the streaming platform on Feb. 12. And, dear reader, I am here to say it was just as wonderful as the first.
In TATBILB Part 2, Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) are no longer just pretending to be together, they're a real couple, and LJ is thrilled. But as she celebrates all of her relationship firsts with Peter — like her first actual date — the ever-introspective Lara Jean struggles with balancing her relationship with Peter, being in her own head about basically everything, reuniting with her fifth letter recipient, John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Fisher), and focusing on who she is and wants to be as a person and a girlfriend.
If your kids, tweens, and teens are just as excited as we were to devour the second installment of this adorable movie franchise — based on books of the same name by author Jenny Han — there are just a few things you should know going in. But spoiler alert: this movie is as wholesome as it gets and there's (nearly) nothing to not love about all of its characters.
What Parents Need to Know Before Their Kids Watch To All the Boys I've Loved Before 2: P.S. I Still Love You
Ultimately, Lara Jean is a great role model for young kids and teens — she's not perfect, she speaks up for herself when she needs to, she denies having an underage alcoholic beverage not once, but twice in the span of a few minutes in this installment, and she often stresses the importance of following her heart but staying true to herself through her actions. Although LJ struggles just like anyone else, especially other teens, she's usually aware of what she needs — or at least what she should do to figure out what she needs — and works through her issues in her head, as well as with her friends and family.
One way LJ speaks up for herself is in a scene with Peter in which they're in his car parked in front of her house. The pair starts kissing while Lara Jean narrates her concerns with what Peter used to do with his ex-girlfriend, Gen, and Lara Jean chooses the moment to share that she isn't ready to have sex yet. Immediately after her admission, she and Peter have a pretty clear chat about consent and readiness even though it's layered with metaphors. It's a solid conversation had by them that could lead to a talk between you and your own kids about sex with their future partners.
Additionally, the way Lara Jean mentally processes her emotions and struggles could lead to great conversations between you and your kids. Her process is something other kids and teens could learn from — though she struggles, as we all do, she eventually gets to a point where she can be self-aware enough to know what she needs. And part of that self-awareness comes when LJ realizes that a lot of the time, when she's asking herself what-ifs and trying to figure out what other people want rather than asking them outright, that she is the person holding herself back from being happy and possessing the knowledge she needs to fully work through her own emotions. And though she makes mistakes — like not telling someone who clearly likes her that she has a boyfriend and thus leading him on — she does her best to rectify and learn from them.
Is To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You Appropriate For Younger Kids?
Honestly, yes! There are really only a couple of things to look out for — and I promise, it was a stretch coming up with these.
- There are definitely kissing scenes. It's a love story, duh!
- Alcohol makes a few appearances. Alcohol is shown and talked about three separate times by Stormy (Holland Taylor) while Lara Jean is with her at Belleview, and as mentioned earlier, LJ denies Stormy more than once when asked if she wants a drink herself. But at a party with her classmates, though alcohol isn't shown or discussed — which is different than the party scene in the first film — Lara Jean's friends are all playing flip cup, which could imply underage drinking (though it really seems like they weren't drinking at all!).
- There's swearing, but it literally happens once. Aside from one of the songs in the film containing the word sh*t, the only other "swear" comes when a Belleview resident tells the woman next to her to "suck it" after she wins a game of bingo, and thus, the bingo prize: a wheel of aged gouda cheese (lol).
- There's a subtle nod to masturbation. While sitting in the woodshop classroom, Chris, Lara Jean's most direct and blunt friend, brings up the topic of "revving your own engine" (in the case of younger kids, Chris's metaphor may go right over their heads). However, the conversation starts as one that Lara Jean thinks is going to be about knowing when you're ready for sex, so the importance of that readiness is discussed in the process, which is a win! And if you do want an opening to discuss masturbation with your kid, this moment makes for the perfect lead in.
- There is an instance of bullying. At one point in the film, Lara Jean isn't honest with Peter or John Ambrose, which results in a bit of a love triangle and some jealousy, mostly on Peter's part. He chooses to bring up a stutter that John used to have in front of a bunch of other people, which is pretty mean. Even though it's not a huge moment, it could be a good time to discuss bullying with your kids, and how even though this seemed like a small comment, it was still really hurtful.