Writer’s Note: This review contains spoilers for “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.”
To all the readers who’ve never seen it before, turn on your computer or TV and start watching “To All the Boys: Always and Forever.”
Released right before Valentine’s Day, “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” is the final installment to Lara Jean Covey’s and Peter Kavinsky’s love story, adapted from the book trilogy by Jenny Han.
The series tells the story of Lara Jean and Peter who fall in love after Peter receives a love letter from Lara Jean. They faced many challenges together, such as Peter’s ex-girlfriend Genevieve and Lara Jean’s mixed feelings for John Ambrose McClaren, but ultimately overcame them in the first two movies.
In “To All the Boys: Always and Forever,” Lara Jean and Peter face an even bigger challenge: distance.
It’s no secret that high school sweethearts and long-distance relationships don’t often work out. After Peter gets into Stanford and Lara Jean decides to attend New York University, their fear of break-up tests their relationship and love and with it comes heartbreak, tears and changes.
“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” set high expectations. An unexpected success, as it was the most-watched original movie on Netflix. However, similar to the second movie of the trilogy, “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” fell flat.
While it wasn’t a bad film, both it and the sequel just don’t live up to the first movie with a different director and wardrobe stylist. There’s just something missing, like changes in Lara Jean’s outfits, and there were odd scenes, similar to when Lara Jean and Peter floated into the sky at the end of the second movie.
“To All the Boys: Always and Forever” has drastic differences from the book. Instead of Lara Jean drunkenly breaking up with Peter and their amended contract in her yearbook, the movie changes the plot to make it more cliché and shorter and in doing so, didn’t include many important moments from the book.
Senior Beach Week, Peter’s Empire State Building promposal and Lara Jean’s 18th birthday were not included in the third movie.
Many fans have continued the debate over Peter Kavinsky and John Ambrose McClaren, believing that she should have ended up with John Ambrose. Others also believed that this movie was unnecessary and should have ended with the first movie.
Despite these changes and controversy, “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” is still a charming movie. Although a little too cheesy and predictable at times, it is fun to watch as Lara Jean and Peter learn to grow and accept change.
The film depicts challenges that high school students face as well whether that be accepting their heritage, young love or deciding what to do in the future. By choosing to go to NYU, Lara Jean shows how you always choose what is best for you and not let anything, even a boy, get in the way of that.
It also has beautiful cinematography with aesthetic color schemes, visuals and locations, including New York and Seoul, South Korea, that add to the beauty of the movie.
The movie also has a great soundtrack with songs from Lauv, ILLENIUM and especially Lara Jean and Peter’s song, “Beginning, Middle and End” by Leah Nobel.
Lana Condor (Lara Jean) and Noah Centineo (Peter Kavinsky) still have great chemistry and are endearing as ever. In heartwarming scenes such as when Peter talks about his dad, you can see that both the characters and actors share a special bond.
All in all, “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” is one of Netflix’s better romcoms and is much more heartwarming and realistic than some of Netflix’s other teenage romance films (like Elle Evans getting into both University of California, Berkeley and Harvard in “The Kissing Booth”).
Even as a teen movie, the characters show maturity and understanding as they become adults. But, if you really want to experience a love story, read the books!
Similar to Lara Jean’s infamous cookies, “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” is a sweet and satisfying movie to end off the series and to think it all started with a love letter.