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To All The Boys: Always and Forever review: This ever-moving story about young love delivers all

A picture from To All the Boys: Always and Forever of the characters sitting on a pink couch in the subway.
Pic credit: Netflix

What does the typical high school senior have to worry about? Everything.

The tumultuous throes of young love, the anticipated arrival of college acceptance letters (and the dreaded rejections), and the fear of what’s to come after graduation.

To All The Boys: Always and Forever delivered on all of these relatable anxieties through its charming and gentle protagonist Lara Jean Covey.

To All The Boys: Always and Forever review

Alas, the sweet ending to the darling Covinsky love story has finally arrived on Netflix. The To All The Boys trilogy, based on the book series by Jenny Han, follows young lovers Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) throughout their high school experience.

Lara Jean is a love-struck inspiring writer who always seeks the silver lining in challenging situations. Her positivity and brightness shine through these movies, especially in To All The Boys: Always and Forever.

The movies don’t fixate too long on the bad, and instead, it allows Lara Jean’s personality to be utterly infectious.

What guides Always and Forever is Lara Jean’s fear of separation from her high school boyfriend. The negative words from others and the dreadful lessons learned through classic coming-of-age stories bounce through her mind.

They tell her, “Young love never lasts” however, she certainly doesn’t feel that way when she’s enjoying her dates and cuddle sessions with Peter. 

Unsurprising to none, Peter was accepted into Stanford University. He’s a carefree and popular jock (that’s how their stories tend to go). But top-student Lara Jean is left waiting for her results.

Through this time, she reveals that she has applied to multiple schools — of course — and most of them are close to Stanford as being away from Peter is not an option. 

Lara Jean struggles with this pressure while living out the events of her senior year: She goes on dates with her boyfriend, she has an exciting trip to New York City, and she goes to prom. 

To All The Boys: Always and Forever is the feel-good movie that everybody has been desperately itching for these last few months.

It’s a continuation of a wholesome trilogy that never pretends to be something that it isn’t. It doesn’t try to wow its audience with an overlying hard-to-decipher philosophical meaning, and it doesn’t pretend to be a muted indie film with characters that are way “too cool” to be real.

Instead, it inputs you right back into the halls of high school — and New York City, in this movie’s case. 

The movie opens with a delightful but short trip to Korea. The Covey siblings visit Seoul and reconnect to their heritage with their American father, who wants to retrace his steps from when he visited the city with his late wife.

This scene is so brief but imperative to the rest of the movie. 

It is a processor into the most prominent moments yet to come — the Covey patriarch moving on and further investing in his relationship with the neighbor and Lara Jean’s identity troubles. While on a video call with Peter in Seoul, Lara Jean expresses that she feels like an outsider in Seoul.

She tells him, “I don’t belong,” mostly concerning the language barrier. 

This launches us straight into the other moving parts of the movie: Lara Jean is trying to grow into her own skin and discover her likes and dislikes — “her calling” — all without the influence of those around her.

This is, unfortunately, the not-so-glamorous young adult experience. 

Another place that guides Lara Jean through this journey is the Big Apple where she explores Washington Square Park and finds herself at the hub of New York University.

Here she lives a total fantasy. She goes to a college party and watches live music. She gets trendy food and has a quirky moment helping her new friends carry a pink couch on the subway — you know how ordinary young people perceive the New York experience.

To All The Boys: Always and Forever is filled with overused tropes and character narratives.

The sassy best friend Chris (Madeleine Arthur) has troubles committing to her “not-boyfriend,” the loveable athlete Peter has unresolved issues with his father, and the standoffish ex-girlfriend Genevieve (Emilija Baranac) has a heart that is slowly thawing out and warming up to the admirable Lara Jean. 

Roll your eyes, if you must, but it makes perfect sense for this movie to unabashedly take these ordinary cliches and transform them into something bigger.

We are seeing Lara Jean’s life play out through her very own eyes; she’s a writer, and she’s known to embrace all of the modern trends seen in young adult entertainment. To All The Boys wouldn’t be half as genuine if it couldn’t successfully spread this doe-eyed joy to its audience.

To All The Boys: Always and Forever wrap-up

To All The Boys: Always and Forever was a charming end to this beautiful teen series. While it doesn’t subdue the young adult experience and Lara Jean’s many troubles, it also doesn’t drag them on.

It is one of the few movies that can successfully sell the story of two teenagers “riding off into the sunset” together, without being an unrealistic farce. 

Simply, it’s a solid movie with the sickly-sweet ending that its fans deserve and crave.  

To All The Boys: Always and Forever is currently streaming on Netflix.

Raven Brunner


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