For any rom-com lovers, the “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” film series should be high on the list of movies to watch. The latest installment “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: Always and Forever” was released on Netflix this past Valentine’s Day and even if you haven’t seen the first two movies in the series, the plot is cute and easy to understand without much context.
The final movie starts in Korea, where Lara Jean, played by Lana Condor, and her sisters are spending their spring break. The three Covey girls are spending their break sightseeing, shopping and eating, with their dad. And of course, Lara Jean spends her time missing Peter Kavinsky, played by Noah Centieno. Her formerly fake boyfriend is still her real boyfriend and they are happily in love, despite a 16 hour time difference.
As Lara Jean continues to long for guidance from a mother figure, it seems that the opening of the film establishes a connection to Lara’s mother from the outset. It makes it feel as if her mom is watching over her throughout the movie as she experiences difficulties. It also really connects Lara Jean with her Korean culture, which has been referenced throughout the series.
Upon arriving home from Korea, Lara Jean, Peter and all of their friends are enjoying the final few months of their senior year, full of promposals, college acceptances and the senior trip to New York City.
Lara Jean and Peter have decided to go to Stanford together after he received a lacrosse scholarship from the university. But the stress of the college application process is getting to Lara Jean, as she applies to schools within a day drive of Stanford so that the couple can stay close together. After being convinced by her older sister Margo, Lara Jean decides to also apply to New York University (NYU), so that she can have one East Coast option. Otherwise, Lara Jean determines without one she would be “a failure at adulting.”
But things don’t go according to plan, once Lara Jean is rejected by Stanford. In the heat of an argument, she accidentally tells Peter that she got into Stanford when she didn’t. He comes to celebrate in true “Say Anything” fashion with a boombox under her window. While they celebrate her acceptance at the diner, Peter asks her to prom. Lara Jean struggles to tell him the truth. When she finally admits their plan is not going to work, he decides to make a new plan.
The group travels to New York City, and as Lara Jean and her best friend Christine explore they end up on the NYU campus. There they bump into Gen, Peter’s ex-girlfriend. They tour the campus with her and attending a party. After a night of parties and stealing a couch, Lara Jean falls in love with Manhattan.
Lara Jean really grows in this movie, she takes some risks and makes decisions that seem very different from the timid “LJ” we all met in 2018.
“I think to see her be decisive and know what she wants is really refreshing, and I really enjoyed that aspect of her glow-up,” star Lana Condor told Entertainment Weekly.
These movies have been hits since the first adaptation of Jenny Han’s bestselling trilogy was released in 2018. Some fans, including me, are disappointed that this series is only a trilogy. But Han has confirmed she won’t be writing more for the series, and told Book Riot in 2018, “I think this is where I leave Lara Jean. In my mind, these characters are still out there doing their thing, but I’m no longer there to watch it happen. I don’t think it’s the end of her story. I just think it’s the end of me being there for it.”
The ending of the film wraps up all storylines nicely.
After much contemplation, Lara Jean decides where she is going to college, and since Peter is unhappy with the decision he decides to break up with her.
A now single Lara Jean watches her dad get married, and her cookies are the featured dessert of the evening. But she finds a love letter from Peter, where he confesses that they have a meet cute where he asks for forgiveness. In true movie fashion, he surprises her as the music swells and our star couple gets back together.
Peter has always been a good boyfriend, but this movie shows how supportive he is. He does his best to support Lara Jean throughout her struggles with college acceptances, and even though they briefly break up, he realizes that he needs to find a way to make things work and asks for forgiveness for ending their relationship.
The movie ends with a happy ending, just like out of one of Lara Jean’s rom coms and as the camera pulls away she realizes that love is not always like the movies.
Overall, the movie was adorable. Lara Jean and Peter continue to be a very wholesome and cliche couple, in all of the best ways. The difficulty and conflicting feelings of Laura Jean are relatable for high school seniors, as she struggles with making decisions about her future. The soundtrack was upbeat and catchy, and it was fun to listen to every song and wonder if Laura Jean and Peter would make it their song. Before the credits rolled, Peter and Lara Jean finally found their very own song, “Beginning Middle End” by Leah Nobel.
It was bittersweet to watch the final movie in this trilogy, but I loved watching Peter and Lara Jean get their happy ending. This rom-com has definitely made my list of favorite romance movies.