This Friday, February 12, Netflix will release For All Boys: Always and Forever, the third and final film in the series. Based on the young adult novels by Jenny Hahn, the films follow Lara Jean, a young girl exploring her late mother’s culture, high school and her first real romance. If you’re like me, this probably sounds absolutely terrible. At first glance, nothing in this series interests me. The title itself is a bit ironic and would be a turn-off. I don’t like romance, drama or high school movies. Frankly, I generally can’t stand stories about growing up unless there is a fantasy or science fiction background. But when you have as many younger siblings as I do, you end up seeing a lot of movies you wouldn’t choose. The first film, “All the Boys,” came out in August 2018, and shortly after, my younger sister Katie, who loves novels and teen movies, asked if I wanted to see it with her. The tone and characters of the film intrigued me almost immediately, and I was surprised to find something truly moving. I mention it often because it’s a great example of how dialogue, atmosphere and music can carry a scene, but the snack scene in the first film was crucial to me. The character of Lara Jean was very different from me, but in many ways very close. Her fear of driving was something I also struggled with. So when she was ready to go to Peter and tell him how she felt, it was so real to me. I thought the second movie was good, but nothing to write home about, even on the same playing field as the first. When the third film was announced and presented in the finale, I had very mixed feelings. Second movie mediocre or not, this series is like nothing else and meant a lot to me. I was really hoping Always and Forever would be closer to the first film; the 3 minute trailer had a more interesting story than the second film as a whole. How is the Always and Forever program going? Let’s see how it goes.
To All Boys: Always and Forever finds Lara Jean on vacation in South Korea with her father and sisters. It is the end of an era when Lara Jin and Peter are in their senior year of high school and Lara Jin’s father, Dan, wants to propose to his girlfriend. Lara Jin wants romance like Say Anything or Sixteen Candles and seems to have found it with Peter. However, her future plans are threatened when Peter is admitted to Stanford and Lara Jean is rejected. She must choose between Berkeley and New York University. During a trip to New York, Lara Jean discovers the city and campus of New York University and decides that she would like to go there. Unlike Berkeley, it is on the other side of the country, where Peter would be. Can their relationship survive that distance, and should that be Lara Jean’s priority at this crucial turning point in her life?
That goes without saying, but the casting is excellent in these films. Lana Condor is simply adorable as Lara Jean, and she gets along very well with John Corbett as her father, Noah Sentineo as Peter, and her sisters Kitty (Anna Cathcart) and Margot (Janelle Parrish). Janelle Parrish also played the role of Jade in the 2007 film Bratz. I love Bratz dolls, but he’s probably the best agent since then. All of these actors play so well together that it really feels like family. I also like that we get to see more of Trina (Sarayu Blue), the girls’ new stepmother, in To All the Boys: Always and Forever. She’s adorable, and I like that for once in the movie, the kids are happy for their dad while having fears that are resolved at the end. It’s much more realistic than the “wicked stepmother” that has been passed down from fairy tales to modern stories. I’m not saying we can only have one, but it’s refreshing. The girls just want their daddy to be happy, and they love Trina because they want to think of their mother. Everyone feels more like real people than caricatures. Henry Thomas is a welcome addition as Mr. Kavinsky. His dynamic with Peter is believable, and I’m really glad they finally resolved the rift caused by his departure. It was nice to see more history of Peter’s family and its problems this time around, and I live for how Mr. Kavinsky’s speech about how you should do your best for the one you love fits into the overall story.
I really like the story in All the Guys: Always and Forever; it’s good to see that the trailer doesn’t show the best scenes or overdo the movie. I like the beginning of the film in Korea because it focuses on Lara Jin’s family and her mother’s legacy, some of my favorite topics in the series. As I said before, I think they did a good job of balancing the problems of Peter and his father. I was pleasantly surprised to see Lara Jean rediscover her friendship with Geneviève (Emilia Baranac) and the way they confronted each other. I can’t believe that for two movies I hated this character and they made me love him in less than one movie. I didn’t like his conclusion in P.S. I Still Love You, in which he suggested that his animosity was due to Lara Jean’s resentment, not Gene’s constant obnoxious behavior. But it may have been worth it. I also like that Jean and Chrissy (Madeleine Arthur) haven’t reconciled yet. It’s also very believable. I was disappointed in Peter because of the decision he made in the movie (you know which one), but now that I’ve seen the whole movie, I think it made him stronger. I liked how it ended and how it fits into his relationship with his father, who just seems to want to reconnect now that he’s in school.
All in all, congratulations to the guys, “Always and Forever” is very good. It’s not as exciting as the first film in the series, but I really enjoyed it. If you’ve enjoyed these movies so far, you’ll be happy with this one too. Always and Forever is an entertaining conclusion to Pierre and Lara Jean’s romance and Pierre’s problems with his estranged father. I’m impressed that they went back to it; they focus a lot on Lara Jean’s family, but in the first two films we only got to see bits and pieces of Peter’s personal life. I think the first one is still my favorite, but that may change with time when I see another one. In any case, I can say that Always and Forever is a definite step forward from P.S. I Still Love You and a solid conclusion to the series.
Frequently asked questions
Will Lara Jean lose her virginity to Lara Jean forever and ever?
The hero suggests to Lara Jean that prom night would be a romantic moment to lose her virginity. It did not happen that night, but it did happen the other night: Lara Jean and Pierre kiss in the bedroom and then wake up under the covers, apparently naked.
How do all people always and forever end?
In Lara Jean’s yearbook, which Pierre forgets to return, he writes a new contract between them, reminiscent of the one they entered into during their false encounter in the first novel. The book ends with Lara Jean’s confidence in the durability of her relationship with Pierre.
Lara Jean ended up with Pierre?
Lara Jean ultimately chose Pierre because she has a real connection and history with him, whereas with John Ambrose she was more connected to her childhood fantasy of being with him than what he is today.
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