To All the Boys: Always and Forever (2021)

To All the Boys: Always and Forever
Director: Michael Fimognari
Writer: Katie Lovejoy
Based on: Jenny Han’s novel
Sequel to: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You
Cast: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart, John Corbett, Trezzo Mahoro, Madeleine Arthur, Ross Butler, Emilija Baranac, Sarayu Blue, Henry Thomas
Seen on: 21.2.2021

Everything is good for Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and Peter (Noah Centineo), but as they are nearing the end of their final year of high school things are bound to change – and the question is whether they can actually change for the better. Lara Jean has a clear plan: she will attend college together with Peter at Stanford, so she can still be with him without having to worry about the long distance thing. But when she isn’t actually accepted at Stanford, Lara Jean has to figure out how to deal with her plans not coming through – and what she actually wants for herself.

To All the Boys: Always and Forever is a lovely end to a lovely trilogy that I enjoyed a lot – especially thanks to Lana Condor’s ever-present charm. This installment, being more about Lara Jean on her own than about Lara Jean and Peter, plays to that strength and is generally just wonderful.

The film poster showing Lara Jean (Lana Condor) walking through a drawn New York street.

The first two films were all about Lara Jean finding her footing in her relationship with Peter – first, how to have a relationship at all with him, then figuring out whether he really is what/who she wants. The third film no is all about her finding her footing outside of her relationship with Peter and learning how to be her own person. That doesn’t necessarily have to mean that the relationship has to end, but it does mean that it has to grow, and so do both Lara Jean and Peter.

But really, the movie sidelines Peter a lot. He feels almost like a supporting character here. That might be disappointing to some people, but I have to admit that I liked that the focus is on Lara Jean here. It felt a little bit like the old “are you Team Edward or Team Jacob?” was answered with “I’m Team Bella”. Good for Lara Jean, good for the movie, especially since it also meant that Lara Jean’s family is much more in the picture again. I missed them in the second film.

Peter (Noah Centineo) and Lara Jean (Lana Condor) dancing at their prom.

That doesn’t mean that the film is completely different from the first two, though. The colorful warmth that was already present in the first two films, is also back here, as is the sense of humor. And Lana Condor is still amazing, I can’t emphasize this enough. I’m still waiting to see her on every billboard (why do I start seeing Centineo everywhere and not her? Could it be, gasp, because she is a WOC?).

In the end, the film does come back to Peter and Lara Jean and their love, giving them the ending they deserve and that we as an audience are hoping for. I will surely return to these films whenever I need some sweetness and comfort.

Lara Jean (Lana Condor) reading in her high school year book.

Summarizing: wonderfully cute.

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