“I thought I wanted a promise that Peter and I would never hurt each other. I wanted something that doesn’t exist.”

Lara Jean

High school drama requires sufficiently charismatic characters that we remain invested in their success even as they invariably make terrible teenage decisions. Unfortunately, the abundant charm of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is mostly absent here. The previous film’s cinematographer, Michael Fimognari, is promoted to directorial duty for the back-to-back sequels but this is his first feature and feels constructed more with a technical eye than an emotional one. Worse, having Lara Jean drawn to another boy almost immediately after starting her first relationship makes it very difficult to care with whom she ends up. The film’s closing message that the goal of a relationship shouldn’t be to avoid ever being hurt is a valid one, but it all ties up too abruptly to feel genuine.

5/10