What It’s Like to Watch PS I Still Love You With Your Teenager
We both hated it. Not the movie. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: PS I Still Love You is a teenage love triangle de-light. But settling in to watch it after school with your 9th grade daughter who looooooovvveeess Peter Kavinsky and romance novels and swoon? Awkward.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt super awkward watching a movie with my kid before. She’s funny, has good taste, and we’ve been heading off to the movies together to see YA adaptation realness since she was nine and Beautiful Creatures came out. I ushered her into her Twilight phase with ease. I gave her my signed hardback copy of Anna and the French Kiss with glee and pleas to love it. (She did).
We watched the original To All The Boys together about a million times. To much approbation. We loved it.
So why was it so weird watching PS I Still Love You as mother and daughter?
This Is a Kissing Movie
It will never not be awkward to watch love scenes with your parents. We know this at 40 because we learn it at 15. And PS I Still Love You is a kissing movie. But To All the Boys was a kissing movie too, you say! Yes, but there are about 4 kisses total in that movie, and they are played for very different reasons.
The first one on the track is for comedic affect. Peter is shocked at Lara Jean. The second one on the lacrosse field. Also comedy. Lara Jean is shocked at Peter. The third? In the hot tub? Ostensibly hot and therefore very awkward for a joint-parent-kid viewing, but marks an emotional moment and the consummation of their real relationship, so it passes awkward muster. The last one? Pure end of romcom relief. It’s the Happy Ever After Kiss. Acceptable.
The kisses in PS I Still Love You take place between a young (very young, omg they seem so YOUNG) couple in love and therefore they have … purpose. They have forward momentum. They are an expression of love and want and not just a seal of promise. “Ugh, Mom. Don’t say forward momentum.” Too late.
We all know what I mean. Lara Jean calls it out: she knows this is headed to teenage sex territory, and she is terrified. So are we. SLOW DOWN, YOU ARE BABIES. (“Stop, Mom”). I’ll never stop. It was awkward.
This is a Weird Movie
We’ve both read the books. We know where this series goes, and we are well aware that Peter and LJ are end game. They are OTP. The love triangle feels weird in a movie that begins with us celebrating and reveling in their burgeoning real relaysh. Like, let them live before you bust in, John Ambrose.
And speaking of John Ambrose, can I just say that as much as I love love LOVE Jordan Fisher and his sweet toothy smile, he was a little too perfect for Lara Jean. There was no flaw. There was no awkwardness. Coupled with Peter’s flipcup and his jock friends and his big Jeep, John Ambrose just looked way more like Lara Jean’s equal. If John Ambrose is our Jacob Black, he needed a moment where he pushed LJ too far or lost his temper or did anything to make him seem less great. Peter is our Edward Cullen, dammit!
All that to say, this also made it awkward for me and my daughter. I mean, I only paused it twice to talk about how Peter’s behavior at some points was a bit of a red flag, and I only shouted, “John Ambrose is perfect for you, LJ!” twice. Twice. (The daughter is Team Peter all the way).
This is a Fantasy Movie
My daughter is fifteen and loves love and brown-headed boys. She’s in high school, and I’m sure she sees a bit of her every day life in these movies, if a bit less-colorful and insta-perfect. This movie is her fantasy.
Me? I want to be Holland Taylor as Stormy and live in a perfect art deco mansion retirement home where my personal apartment looks like something out of a Bette Davis biopic. That is the real fantasy. (I’m Old).
Have you watched PS I Still Love You yet?
Are you ready to petition Netflix for Always and Forever like, right now?
Beth is the proud sponsor of two little women and a huge fan of fandom. She took 3 years of Latin in high school and now speaks fluent pretension, which fully explains her current preference for gay wizard regency novels. She will roll over for a giant book with a map in the front. She takes comic book recommendations every day but Wednesday and TV recommendations never (she knows what's good).