'To All the Boys: Always and Forever' Proves That There's No Such Thing as a Perfect Ending Directed by Michael Fimognari
Starring Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, John Corbett, Madeleine Arthur, Anna Cathcart
Published Feb 16, 2021The perfect ending doesn't exist — not even if you're a charming fictional character in a Netflix romantic comedy. The final instalment in the film adaption of Jenny Han's To All the Boys book trilogy centres around love letters, college acceptance offers (or the lack thereof), and an underwhelming farewell to our favourite on-screen couple.
To All the Boys: Always and Forever follows Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) as she experiences all the highs, lows and relationship woes of her senior year of high school. The film kicks off with the Covey family enjoying a trip in Seoul, South Korea. Lara Jean is seen writing a postcard — or in her case one of her infamous love letters — to her beau Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo). This scene seemingly sets the tone of what seems to be a recurring theme in the film— how to preserve long-distance young love.
In the first film, the couple's budding and uncommon romance lured an audience with a classic premise where the fake couple becomes real. The film was filled with cheesy moments that encapsulated the usual tropes of teenage rom-coms. However, what set it apart and made it so refreshing was the undeniable chemistry between the actors, Condor's phenomenal embodiment of the ever-so-personable Lara Jean, and the subtle representation of Korean culture that was effortlessly shared in all three films. In the sequel, the couple's relationship faced troubles when another recipient of her old love letters re-entered the story. But ultimately Lara Jean, decided to stay with her forever love, Peter.
In the final movie of the trilogy, the story teeters with the possibility that the two might not be together forever. Thoughts of life after high school begins to settle in with Lara Jean as she takes into consideration her other college offers, once she receives a rejection notification from Stanford University — a school her and Peter were planning to go to together. Besides the fate of the couple's romantic future, the film also features typical senior milestones such as prom and graduation.
Overall, just like Lara Jean and Peter's love, Always and Forever is a rather predictable low-and-slow burn. There really isn't much more to anticipate from this couple's relationship that wasn't already foreseeable. The conflict is clichéd, and the need to memorialize their love with a song or a meet-cute is predictably stale. However, what carries the movie is the innocence and gentleness that these two characters have shared with each other since day one. (Netflix)