By Sarah Griffiths,
While couples were high on the romance in the air, many single individuals had a date with Netflix this Valentine’s Day. I am sure I’m not the only one that indulged in romantic comedies while surrounded by a variety of sweet treats. I nursed my lonely heart by watching the feel-good teen romance movie, “To All the Boys: Always and Forever.”
This is the conclusion to the popular series that first aired in 2018, based on the books written by Jenny Han.
In the first movie, “To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” we watched highschooler Lara Jean Covey suffer through the embarrassment of having her personal love letters sent to her first loves by her younger sister. This led to some awkward conversations with her past crushes including the popular jock, Peter Kavinsky. They hatch a plan to make Peter’s ex jealous but the fake relationship sparks up genuine feelings amongst Lara Jean and Peter.
This led to the sequel “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You,” where Lara Jean faces the difficulty of her feelings for her old love John Ambrose and her new love Peter Kavinsky.
Now more confident in their relationships, and less insecure, the couple’s battle isn’t with another love triangle, but the looming overhang of college. The third and final movie follows Lara Jean and her relationship with Peter as they navigate through senior year and college admissions.
The series picks up with Lara Jean enjoying spring break in Seoul, South Korea, where she and her three sisters enjoy time together and honor their late mother’s culture. The cinematography was beautiful, which included many colors and diverse foods throughout their vacation. They also learn exciting news about their father’s plan to marry his wonderful girlfriend.
The 16 hour time difference doesn’t keep the love birds apart; the two keep in touch through FaceTime where they discuss their plans for Lara Jean to follow Peter to Stanford.
Their well-planned out future is thrown off course when Lara Jean presses the refresh button on Stanford’s admission website: rejected.
Suddenly Lara Jean’s perfect future of becoming a best-selling author, buying a house with a white picket fence and getting married to Peter have been thrown off course.
Lara Jean, afraid of seeing his disappointment, struggles to tell Peter the truth. Dragging it on until she can’t lie to him any longer.
I have to give it to Peter, his reaction to the truth made my heart melt. Instead of being angry with the lies and acting selfish, his first thought was to ask her if she was okay. They come up with a new plan for Lara Jean to transfer from Berkeley to Stanford after her first year. Their optimism was definite foreshadowing of the obstacles that lay ahead.
Peter gains some competition during their school field trip where Lara Jeans finds a new love: New York City.
The late-night subway rides and spur-of-the-moment parties light a fire inside of her that was missing. She finally feels like she belongs, not to mention the amazing literature program that is offered.
Her decision is sealed with the arrival of her New York University (NYU) letter of acceptance, wiping Berkley from the plan.
Lara Jean tells Peter her decision and it’s clear that he’s disappointed, from then on their relationship is strained and awkward. Gone are the flirty looks and laughs which are replaced with painful looks of longing, as if they are already 3,000 miles away.
The two attend prom together and I have to say I was very jealous. The elaborate dresses, suits and decorations made my chest ache since it looks like this year’s seniors will not be having one.
Their fairy tale night ends in tears when Peter understandably gets frustrated when Lara Jean continues to pretend that the distance isn’t going to impact their relationship. Peter is hurt that she chose NYU over him, which I think is completely unrealistic and selfish. It seems their story has come to an end.
The night of Lara Jean’s father’s wedding is full of love and family, a much-needed distraction from heartbreak, full of dancing and laughter. Lara Jean is surprised to find Peter waiting in the empty tent after the wedding where the two share a dance to their “song” and get lost in the throes of passion after accepting their future.
They finally make it to graduation. Another high school experience I’m praying to have with my senior class, including a cap and gown and cheering on my fellow classmates. The movie ends with the two of them going their separate ways while continuing their relationship long distance.
This movie included less cringey boy troubles, and focused more on self-acceptance. I found that to be truly inspiring and reminded me that my well-being always comes first.
Okay, yes, Noah Centineo is definitely a tad cringey. Who’s going to tell him that it doesn’t hurt when you take a sheet mask off?
The soundtrack also stood out which was full of music that makes you want to get up and do something productive which added to the motivational message that life doesn’t always go according to plan but love always prevails.
This has been my favorite movie of the series so far, I enjoyed it from the beginning to the middle to the end.