On Feb. 12, Netflix released what was a bittersweet ending to a beloved franchise. Lana Condor and Noah Centineo return as everyone’s favorite couple, Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky, but this time their relationship is being threatened by plans after graduation and they risk being torn apart.
The couple has different ideas about where they want to go for college with Kavinsky being set on Stanford and Lara not having the slightest idea. She feels guilty for not wanting the same things and feels her connection to Peter slowly dwindling. This time around, the film tackles some realistic questions about their relationship and for the first time ever, gives Lara Jean the freedom of choosing something other than love.
The movie is very much rainbows and lollipops, but there are some serious moments as well. The movie starts with Lara Jean in Korea with her sisters and dad, almost 6,000 miles apart from her love. Their current separation sets audiences up for the main conflict of the story and is great foreshadowing for what is yet to come. Also, the subtle nod towards Lara’s Korean heritage is a nice touch added by filmmakers. They put an emphasis on the fact that Lana Condor is a great representation for Asian-Americans and they do a great job at including it.
Problems arise once Lara Jean is rejected from Stanford and must break the bad news to an excited and eager Peter. Unlike Lara, Peter has gotten in and has already started to plan out their future together. Their interaction is awkward and makes the audience’s hearts ache for their dying relationship.
Lara Jean, who is undoubtedly the girlfriend of the year, is always having to sacrifice for Peter Kavinsky. The focus of the first two films was their growth as a couple, but this film focuses more on Lara Jean’s individual growth. It was wonderful to watch them always end up together, when there was a happy ending guaranteed for both parties. “Always and Forever” suggests that there is more out there for Lara and that choosing Peter wouldn’t make her happy at all. Instead, Lara Jean finds happiness in NYU, and in her family and friends which is refreshing to see.
It was unclear how the writers would continue their journey together and top the previous movies, while also crafting a good ending that viewers would be happy with. Luckily, they accomplish this feat and they do it by writing in a more enjoyable screenplay for Lara Jean and her friends. It was a pleasant surprise to see what are usually side characters, such as Kitty, Lara’s younger sister, get more screen time and lines. It added to the fun experience of the movie and the comedic effect.
There was an important lesson to be reminded of from this film and that was to ‘do whatever makes you happy.’ Not only was it heartwarming, but it was truly an inspiring and unique franchise. “To All The Boys” influenced a boom of romantic comedies and although this particular rom-com has come to an end, we can expect to see many more to come.
Photo Credit: Katie Yu/Netflix/IMDb