A Review of To All the Boys: Always and Forever

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Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Jenna Galla, Online Staff Writer

After the release of the first movie To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in August of 2018, Netflix left many fans anxiously awaiting the sequel, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, released February 12, 2020. In true Netflix fashion, exactly one year later, Netflix released the final movie of the series and completed the trilogy. 

The series is based on Jennie Han’s three books following Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky’s romantic relationship over several years. The relationship begins in high school after Peter finds a love letter written by Lara Jean in middle school when she formerly had feelings for him. The two end up fake dating to make Peter’s ex-girlfriend jealous; however, over time, Lara Jean’s feelings for Peter return. As any cheesy romantic movie goes, the two wind-up dating, but for real this time! 

In the second movie, Lara Jean rekindles her relationship with an old crush, all the while dating Peter. She soon begins questioning whether or not loving two people at once is possible. Of course, this all stems from her insecurities about Peter’s ex-girlfriend, who she is unable to stop comparing herself to. To keep a long story short, Lara Jean kisses her old crush and realizes he is not the one she loves. She then sees Peter, and they profess their love for each other. 

Released on Netflix only a couple of weeks ago, To All the Boys: Always and Forever has gained thousands of views. The movie focuses on the struggles many high school couples eventually face: long-distance relationships and college. Initially, Lara Jean plans to attend Stanford with Peter; however, she is rejected. Her new plan is to attend Berkely, which is a short, one-hour drive away from Stanford. Thrilled with Lara Jean’s decision, Peter enthusiastically thinks about their next four years together. However, plans begin to change. After visiting New York City for their senior trip, Lara Jean falls in love with the New York University campus and applies to NYU. Shortly after, she learns she is accepted and is faced with a difficult decision: going to her dream school or following her heart. After making her choice, Lara Jean breaks the news to Peter that she will be attending school in New York. The two ultimately get into an argument but end up feeling confident they can make their relationship work over a long distance. A classic, romantic ending, am I right?

Although a happy ending, the film has faced extensive harsh criticism. The criticism seems to be focused on the quality of all the movies rather than the plots. I have read the series and watched all three movies. To me, the movies don’t have the same captivating feel that the novels do. I am not alone in my thoughts: to many, it feels as though the quality of the films declined over the course of the trilogy. Sophomore Reed Dillon said, “It seems like the movies went progressively downhill. I know they changed directors after the first film, so maybe that’s why.” 

After the release of the first movie, there was much excitement about the sequel and third film. However, the last two movies were disappointing for many, especially To All the Boys: Forever and Always, as its classic romantic plot and a happy ending failed to live up to the anticipation of its audience.

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