To All The Boys: Always and Forever Movie Review


Jenna Wiley, Editor-in-Chief

The time has come. We’ve reached the third and final chapter of the feel-good “To All the Boys I Loved Before” series. In the first movie, Lara Jean Covey suffers the embarrassing ordeal of having her old love letters sent to crushes. One of the receivers, Peter Kavinsky hatches a plan to be in a fake relationship with Lara Jean to make his ex jealous. The experience ends up bringing them into a real relationship.

Then, in “To All the Boys P.S. I Still Love You,” Lara Jean navigates the foibles and insecurities of first love while exploring old feelings for another of the boys she loved before, John Ambrose.

Now, slightly more confident and eyeing a future filled with romance, college and writing Lara Jean starts “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” on a hopeful note. Her dreams never seemed closer, but she’s about to learn one of life’s tougher lessons: the future doesn’t always go according to plan.

The series picks up during the Covey family’s trip to Seoul, South Korea. During the trip, their dad asks his daughters for their blessing as he’s thinking about proposing to Trina, and they happily agree. The horizon is filled with possibilities, including Lara Jean’s hopes to follow Peter to Stanford. When her first dream school changes her plans, Lara Jean is forced to figure out not only what she wants out of her relationship with Peter, but also what she wants for herself and her own college experience.

The playful “will they or won’t they” dynamic has kept the series moving since Lara Jean first learned that Peter received her love letter. Even if it seems like it’s wearing a bit thin by the events in “Always and Forever,” the affectionate energy between stars Condor and Centineo keeps the sparks flying.

Condor moves through her character’s insecurities, hopes, and fears quickly as an anxious mind might, still sometimes visualizing her boyfriend in the room with her talking through things even as she’s agonizing over her next text message. Even after all this time, Lara Jean still struggles with telling Peter the truth, a regular feature of romantic comedies, but the story is able to sell it and keep the romantic tension intact without turning too serious or silly.

Based on the charming novel by Jenny Han, screenwriter Katie Lovejoy makes some adjustments from the page for the screen. The most noticeable of which is a less-than subtle inclusion of New York University. On their school’s senior trip to New York City, Lara Jean and her friend Chris end up in Washington Square Park, where Lara Jean marvels at the college’s immersion in the city. The story feels like it loses its way and turns into a brief ad for NYU. It’s supposed to sell the idea that now she’s considering a school far from both her family and Peter, but it feels like it’s selling something else too.

Fortunately, it’s not too long before Lara Jean and Peter are reunited and the story gets back on track. There’s a lot to figure out in those last months of high school—prom, graduation and where you’ll go and do next. Fimognari rounds out the finale with a fan-friendly nod to the previous movies, a highlight reel of Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship from its first inauspicious beginnings. Because no matter what happens, those good memories are worth revisiting and savoring, “Always and Forever.”