Director: Michael Fimognari
Date: Feb. 12, 2021
TV-14 | 1 hour 55 minutes
Netflix released the newest and final installment of the “To All the Boys” trilogy, entitled “To All the Boys: Always and Forever,” Feb. 12. Starring Lana Condor and Noah Centineo, the film is a charming end to the romantic comedy franchise.
Based on the popular teen romance novels by Jenny Han, the first movie follows Lara Jean Covey (Condor), a hopeless romantic whose love letters to all of her past crushes get mysteriously sent out. When she starts a faux relationship with Peter Kavinsky (Centineo), one of the letter recipients, in order to make other people jealous, the relationship blossoms into something more.
Despite the fact the first film is an incredibly charming and unique teen romance, the second movie fell flat with a plot that essentially ended where it began, lacking any sort of character development. The third film is a redemption for where the second failed miserably, though it still isn’t as much of a classic as the first.
“To All the Boys: Always and Forever,” directed by Michael Fimognari, follows Lara Jean and Peter in their senior year of high school. Peter is set to play lacrosse at Stanford University and Lara Jean plans to follow him there. But when Lara Jean doesn’t get into Stanford and falls in love with New York University (NYU) on her senior year field trip, what is the couple to do?
When Lara Jean first finds out she hasn’t gotten into Stanford, her plan B is to go to University of California, Berkeley — which is only an hour away from Stanford and Peter. Sound familiar? This is exactly where Troy Bolton chose to go in order to be close to Gabriella who was also going to Stanford in “High School Musical 3.” Except instead of getting in on academic merit like Gabriella, Peter is there on an athletic scholarship.
While this trope is old, overused and unrealistic, “To All the Boys 3” still manages to maintain its charm, largely due to Condor and Centineo.
The two actors have amazing chemistry that’s wholesome and endearing yet also realistic. The two share a spark while maintaining a relationship that isn’t overtly sexualized — something that film and TV tend to cast onto high school relationships. As Lara Jean would describe it to her best friend Christine (Madeleine Arthur), “We burn low and slow. … We’re like brisket.”
Besides the film’s central storyline and its two main characters, “To All the Boys 3” features stunning shots of various locations and scenery. Although it takes place primarily in Oregon, the majority of it was filmed in Vancouver, Canada. It was also filmed in Seoul, South Korea, featuring locations such as the Namsan Tower, Bongeunsa Temple and Cafe Yeonnam-dong 223-14. New York City was featured too, showing the Empire State Building and NYU campus. While the first installment arguably had a better plot, the third film is more visually gorgeous.
Starting out on a family trip in Korea, then to a school trip to New York City, then to an elegant prom and a pretty backyard wedding, this movie is fun, playful and easy on the eyes.
To find out what becomes of Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky, “To All the Boys: Always and Forever,” along with its two predecessors, can be streamed on Netflix. All three films are rated TV-14.