Graphic by Elsie Mckendry
Featuring corny promposals, lots of drama and a visit to Korea, the “To All the Boys” franchise finishes with its final book-to-movie adaptation, “To All the Boys: Always and Forever.” This movie trilogy follows the relationship between protagonist, Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor), and her boyfriend, Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), as they experience the many challenges of a teenage relationship. The challenge this time around: college.
As the movie begins, Peter gets into Stanford University on a lacrosse scholarship and wants Lara Jean to join him. As the usual trope of high school seniors in a relationship goes, she does not get accepted, creating conflict for the couple. Although Lara Jean does not get into Stanford, she does get accepted into UC Berkeley which she plans to attend because of its close proximity to Stanford. However, a class trip to New York exposes her to the beauty of New York University (NYU), leaving her conflicted on whether to go to Berkeley or NYU, which is 3,000 miles away from Stanford.
While “To All the Boys: Always and Forever,” is a hundred times better than the previous movie “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You,” it still does not beat, nor compare to the first “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” movie.
A bit too cringey with cliché moments, this movie is an anti-climatic end to the beloved trilogy. With an episodic structure that includes a family visit to Korea, a school trip to New York City, a wedding and senior prom, “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” feels more like a condensed season of a television show than an actual movie.
On top of that, there was the underdeveloped subplot about Peter and his estranged relationship with his father. Not only did it feel like an unnecessary attempt at giving his character more depth, it was rushed and unorganized.
A good element of the film was that it focused more on the internal struggles of Lara Jean than on her relationship with Peter. It explored her life as not just someone’s girlfriend, but as a daughter, sister, friend, student and individual, which was absent in the two previous movies.
As her senior year unfolds, Lara Jean questions herself on what she truly wants and ultimately chooses her happiness above anything else. This provides a huge step in her character development from someone who cares more about what others think than what she thinks of herself.
The color scheme and interspersed animations did add to the film significantly. With Instagram-inspired imagery and a repeated color palette of turquoise, pink and yellow throughout the three movies, the film’s aesthetic matches Lara Jean’s quirky, old-soul character.
“To All the Boys: Always and Forever,” like most senior-year movies, is about saying goodbye and starting a new chapter in life. I would say this film was a bad classic senior year movie because it had no unique elements, and the characters were all bland. It’s a comfort movie: the ending is predictable, and the ambiance is light and fun. However, it is not one that I will be watching again.
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