Netflix UK film review: To All the Boys: Always and Forever
Katie Smith-Wong | On 12, Feb 2021
Director: Michael Fimognari
Cast: Noah Centineo, Lana Condor, Janel Parrish, Madeleine Arthur
Watch To All the Boys 3 online in the UK: Netflix UK
In 2018, Netflix’s adaptation of Jenny Han’s young adult novel To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before became a hit. Not only did its stars Lana Condor and Noah Centineo gain worldwide recognition but the film also spawned two sequels, with the third instalment hitting the streaming platform this Valentine’s Day weekend.
Now taking place in senior year, To All the Boys: Always and Forever sees Lara Jean Covey (Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Centineo) about to graduate. With more than college acceptances and senior prom on their minds, the couple struggle with the impending dilemma of life after high school.
Since the events in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, we’ve seen Lara Jean and Peter overcome social awkwardness, love rivals and general confusion to become the committed couple they are now. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Lara Jean is dead set on attending college with Peter, who already has a scholarship secured at Stanford. Her trepidation is motivated by safeguarding the future of their relationship, which she fuels with daydreams amid a white picket fence. However, these are essentially crushed when the all-dreaded college rejection letter lands in her inbox and kickstarts the emotional dilemma that drives this threequel – specifically, the future of Lara Jean and Peter.
During the To All the Boys film series, Lara Jean has consistently shown that she is a romantic at heart. In this instalment, however, the sentiment is contagious – her dad, Dan (John Corbett), is thinking of proposing to his girlfriend, Trish (Sarayu Blue), and even the cynical Kitty (Anna Cathcart) gets all giggly about a Korean boy called Dae. But when she receives her rejection, the fact that she is more upset about her relationship than getting into her top choice university shows that her heart is still ruling her head.
Lara Jean’s childlike naivety in their relationship continues to cause chaos with her future and senior prom and graduation inches closer, she is unsure of whether she can be happy without losing Peter. After the events of the first two films, it is no surprise that she continually sticks by the concept of first love until a trip to New York makes her realise that it may be time for them to grow up, separately or together.
This slow change of direction in To All the Boys: Always and Forever echoes the growing maturity among the characters. It not only applies to Lara Jean and Peter, who went from fake relationship contracts to heartfelt and honest conversations, but also the supporting characters, such as their respective best friends, Chris (Madeleine Arthur) and Trevor (Ross Butler). Even Peter’s ex-girlfriend, Gen (Emilija Baranac), the antagonist in the two previous films, is now on friendlier terms, so all we have left to do is root for the couple.
The amazing chemistry between Condor and Centineo continues to bring a charm that highlights their engaging performances, while Cathcart and Arthur add some sass amid the romance. Director Michael Fimognari and screenwriter Katie Lovejoy replace the random lip-syncing fantasies with a pop soundtrack and “promposals”, which raise the gushiness levels. The combination of these elements creates such a sweet, heartfelt feature that it becomes hard not to get caught up in the film’s cuteness.
To All the Boys: Always and Forever aims to be the cherry on a super-sweet sundae. With its winsome performances and quite satisfying ending, it marks a beautiful end to a charming teen rom-com trilogy.
To All the Boys: Always and Forever is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.