Movie Review: To All the Boys: Always and Forever

Exactly one year after the movie sequel of Jenny Han’s books was released, Valentine’s day 2021 got a little sweeter. With ‘To All the Boys: Always and Forever’ the trilogy that got adapted to the screen is coming to an end, leaving us with the happy end we wished to see for Lara Jean Covey (played by Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (played by Noah Centineo). What originally started with a young Lara Jean writing love letters to come to terms with her past crushes so that she could move on, turned into a real-life love story after her sister Kitty (played by Anna Cathcart) sent out all of the addressed letters and therefore causing the occasional love triangle.

‘To All the Boys: Always and Forever’ starts in Seoul, South Korea and portrays the Covey family exploring their mother’s home country. At the same time Lara Jean is also patiently waiting for her acceptance letter by Standford University. Dreaming of the future of the start of the life of her dreams with boyfriend Peter Kavinksy. While the past two movies were mostly focussed on love triangles, ‘always and forever’ focusses on Lara Jean trying to navigate her own independence, coming of age and finding a balance between a future of love within the realm of the future of her career.

And surely we see Lara Jean putting herself first and choosing NYU over Standford so that she can pursue her dream career. All the while, Peter Kavinksy sets the most pleasant example for a supportive boyfriend, as he says: “Of course you should go to New York, you should do all the things you want to do, I never want to be the guy holding you back.”

As this is the last instalment Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky experience sexual intimacy for the very first time. Dr. Covey, Lara Jean’s dad (played by John Corbett) finds love again after the dead of the girls’ mum and his wife, in a neighbour. The overarching message of the film portrays that true love can survive anything.

The book series by Jenny Han’s speaks to all boys and girls who have felt too insecure, too settle to live outside of the box. People that struggle to socialise and face real intimacy, as Peter says ,“You’d rather make up a fantasy version of somebody in your head than be with a real person.” 

But even Lara Jean eventually realises that life isn’t about living in your head. Love can be terribly vulnerable, but also real. “Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That’s the part of the risk. I don’t want to be scared anymore.” 

Life is more than reading novels and dreaming about the life you strive for. Life is difficult, uncomfortable, but most of all, real.

After all, Kitty sending out the love letters freed Lara Jean from her ordinary life and helped her to let go.

Written by: Hannah Lipfert

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