To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before 3 Review

The final installment of the To All the Boys trilogy was released Feb. 12 on Netflix


Photo from IMDB

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, love is in the air, and the long-awaited final installment of Jenny Han’s “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” trilogy, “To All The Boys: Always And Forever” is finally out on Netflix.

It’s the end of Lara Jean’s high school career and she’s faced with the typical coming-of-age movie trope of not only deciding which college to attend, but also dealing with what that means for her relationship with boyfriend Peter Kavinsky.

I read all three books a few years back, and I have to say, I enjoyed them. I interpreted the story as a cute teen romance with a somewhat realistic aspect to it—a teenager who lives through romance novels discovers that she can’t live her life through books, and once she experiences what that’s like, finds herself facing very normal complications that everyone else does—for example, college applications. 

However, as the movies attempt to adapt this endearing storyline into cinematography, they miserably fail by having Lara Jean not just apply, but expect to get into Stanford University (Spoiler Alert: She doesn’t). She also applies to New York University (NYU) and the University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley) as back-up schools, both to which she gets accepted.

Lara Jean seems to have no real standards that are influencing her decision to go to Stanford other than the fact that Peter is going there. She is oblivious to what each school she’s applying to is known for and therefore doesn’t apply to any schools because she thinks it’s a good fit for her. She is oblivious to what each campus actually looks like (how do you apply to NYU without knowing it’s an urban integrated school?). She is oblivious to the realities of getting accepted to college. She is oblivious to the ramifications of her relationship due to both her and Peter going away to college. Simply put, Lara Jean annoyed me throughout the movie.

But, that’s not to say that there weren’t some parts that I thought were well-executed. The movie demonstrated how to react appropriately when receiving bad news. Peter’s reaction to Lara Jean breaking the news of her rejection from Stanford was sympathetic and loving. Rather than getting upset at Lara Jean for not telling him the truth about it immediately, he was supportive and comforting, as his initial urge was to ask her if she was okay. 

Even when Lara Jean tells Peter that she wants to go to NYU instead of UC Berkeley like they previously discussed, he does not lash out at her, but takes the information maturely. He understands that this is her decision, her life, and her future, not his. 

While this initial road bump gets resolved with Lara Jean and Peter agreeing to try long-distance, complications occur and Peter decides he doesn’t want to go through a relationship that he believes will end in a messy break-up. So, he ends things on prom night. Peter definitely could have done this in a better way, but this initial break-up between the two sets up the ending.

Before the last scene, there is a moment between Lara Jean and Chris, her best friend, that represents another important message. Lara Jean is in doubt and slight regret over picking NYU, thinking that she should have chosen UC Berkeley if it meant saving her relationship, to which Chris replies that she made the right choice in choosing what she wanted and not changing her plans for a guy. Chris even adds that she and their friend Trevor decided to start dating again but that she would not change her current plans of going to Costa Rica because of it. She reminds Lara Jean not to be worried about what Peter thinks and to do what she feels is right.

In the end, though, Peter pulls through and writes Lara Jean a “love letter” to parallel the start of their relationship in the first movie. He tells Lara Jean that he’s willing to fight for them and try to make their relationship work regardless of the distance between them.

While this “resolution” didn’t really change any of the problems the couple was facing earlier in the story—they’re still going to be on opposite sides of the country, there are going to be long-distance struggles, and saying “We’re Peter Kavinsky and Lara Jean Covey” doesn’t fix all of of their concerns about being apart—it leaves room for the viewer to enjoy a fun ending and imagine how the pair will survive in the future.

Overall, the movie definitely had little details that added up and made the conflict seem like it was not well-thought-out, but the message was important, no matter how poorly executed. “To All The Boys: Always And Forever” isn’t a movie that I’d rewatch on loop, but it’s a cute story that I wouldn’t mind putting on every now and then for background entertainment while hanging out with friends.