Movie Review: Happy ending for iconic Netflix film series

Deja Goode
Editor-in-Chief

The final installment to the “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” film series, titled “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: Always and Forever,” premiered on Netflix on Feb. 12 and touches on the importance of making life-changing decisions while trying to maintain a relationship.

Lara Jean Covey, played by Lana Condor, enters her senior year of high school with her popular athletic boyfriend Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo). Peter receives an early acceptance to Stanford University and Lara Jean begins building her college plans around their relationship, saying she will attend Stanford as well. Lara Jean was only going to submit applications to two schools, but her older sister Margot also pushes her to apply to New York University, which does not mean much since she is firmly set on following her boyfriend anywhere in the world.

Unfortunately, she does not get into Stanford, ultimately deciding that she will attend UC Berkeley to be close to him, which is alarming solely because these are situations heard about in real life that don’t always finish with a happy ending.

However, all of these things change when the pair attend the school senior trip to New York City, and just as expected, Lara Jean falls in love with New York, introducing the signature “Do I choose my future or the boy” plot into the story. While it is extremely cliché, it definitely builds the excitement that comes with their college decisions as a couple. Also, Lara Jean and Peter have not exactly had the easiest journey together. In the past, the couple had their riffs with exes, “almost” loves and morals. Peter shows many signs of having a lack of understanding when it comes to Lara Jean’s feelings, and of course, they reappear when Lara Jean breaks the news that she no longer wants to attend Berkeley and feels at home at New York University.

To “protect his heart,” Peter breaks up with Lara Jean several weeks after her decision. Not only was this sad because it is hard to not root for them as a couple, but the blatant manipulation is obvious and Lara Jean deserves better than that. Unfortunately, this is a common theme among teen romance films. Significant others are always put in an ultimatum when it comes to their futures, and in many cases, one throws their life away for the one they love only for it to end in sadness and divorce.

One bright light in the series is the emphasis on Lara Jean’s connection to her family. Lara Jean’s character tugs at the heart strings because of her devotion to her sisters and single father. However, this particular movie embraces her individuality and natural curiosity with what the world has in store for her. Condor executes Lara Jean’s quirks flawlessly, and makes her newly acquired strength and comfort with the woman she is becoming refreshing.

The pair has some of the best character development that is not necessarily common in movies like these. Both grow into their own people while still carrying that spark we see in the first movie. It is unfortunate that this is the last installment of the series because it would have been exciting to know whether the relationship withstands the tests of distance and time.

Deja Goode can be reached at deja.goode@laverne.edu.

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