- The Sword & Shield
To All the Boys: Always and Forever: Love It or List It?
To All the Boys: Always and Forever: Love It or List It?
by MOLLY MIDKIFF, Staff Writer
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a popular young adult book turned into a movie franchise. The third movie, To All the Boys: Always and Forever (TATB), is out now on Netflix. Some may be thrilled, and some may dread it’s return, but TATB has made its way back into our lives. Begs the question, should you even watch it?
Also, if you haven’t seen any of the other movies before Always and Forever then 1) Why haven’t you? 2) Why are you reading this? 3) I spoil both movies so be warned!
Summary of All the Movies that Came Before:
The scheme of TATB is simple: Lara Jean Covey, whenever she had a major heart crushing crush, wrote a love letter to that boy and sealed it into a box, never to see the light of day again--Until her sister, Kitty, decided Lara Jean was lonely, and needed a boyfriend, so she sent all of them out. You can imagine Lara Jean’s reaction when one of these boys (Peter Kavinsky, to be exact) approached her in school, and asked about it (yikes). Ultimately, she and Peter fell in love!
In the second movie, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, another love letter victim (and my personal favorite) shows up: John Ambrose Mcclaren. John Ambrose falls head over heels for her, but Lara Jean stays with Peter in the end, and that leads us to the lucky number three: To All the Boys: Always and Forever.
Spoiler-free review of To All the Boys: Always and Forever:
We start out in Seoul, South Korea with Lara Jean’s family on a vacation. It is an amazing change of scenery compared to the other movies which mostly stayed in their hometown. Speaking of scenery, the scenes in Seoul are absolutely charming. It has a very modern aesthetic, and is just very pleasing to the eyes.
The lighting throughout the movie is also very aesthetically pleasing. Probably due to the blue tint that is put over all the TATB movies, which is a very comforting effect, and really helps match all the color tones in the movies.
The best parts of the movies are the transitions! Whenever Lara Jean travels to different places (which happens quite often) there is a little animated scene to show it, giving each major scene a very nice transition, even if the scene before could not efficiently connect to the next. It’s like a scrapbook, which really gives us the Lara Jean view of life. But something that is disappointing is the end credit scene. I don’t know if they ran out of budget, but it was just a bunch of scenes from the other movies stitched together. The end credits had the possibility to be so beautiful (based on those transitions we got throughout the movie), but no.
The outfits are amazing, especially when they are in Seoul. Lara Jean and her two other sisters (Margot and Kitty) are not necessarily in matching outfits, but different outfits of the same color. It really shows off the personality divide of them all quite well. There is also a huge thing with the color blue throughout the movie, especially in Lara Jean’s hometown. It really fits with the cool lighting I mentioned earlier (in addition with the blue tint filter) and it really shows the divide between Lara Jeans monotone home town, and all the other places they travel to throughout the movie. We also see blue in Lara Jean’s clothing up until the end, and I'll get into it more in the spoiler section, but I personally think it’s a sign of her character growth.
The music is definitely not that strong. It’s mostly filled with older songs, but they are not sung by the original artist and it does not sound good. It feels more like a TV show soundtrack then an actual movie, with the songs being very hyper, rather than cinematic. In fact, the entire movie feels like an extremely long episode of a series.
A lot of the scenes are very boring, and dragged out. Some of them are nice to see the “relatable” personalities of the characters, especially Peter, but they often get boring and too realistic (what can I say, I crave drama). Good thing that they made their high school lives not like real life, or this movie would have been a drag.
There are several plots in this movie(a wedding, the senior trip, spring break, etc…) which also connect back to my point about it feeling like a TV show. It’s nice to see all these other side characters, like Lara Jeans new mother, but all these plots bundled together can be confusing at times (timeline-wise).
I really recommend watching this movie if you love a good potato chip movie. It’s good, but it won’t really have a lasting impact. And the beauty of the movie is worth a watch on it’s own, they really went all out with the artistry this time.
Not so spoiler-free review of To All the Boys: Always and Forever:
Stop! If you haven’t seen the movie yet, and you want to keep it spoiler free, stop reading right this instant and go watch it!
Plot and Reactions:
The central plot of the movie is that it’s Lara Jeans senior year, and she needs to decide what college she wants to attend. Originally, she wanted to go with Peter to Sanford, but like typical movie fashion she doesn’t get accepted, but she did get into Berkeley. She and Peter wanted to stay in a relationship in college, and even though she didn’t get into Stanford, Berkeley was still only about an hour away. This was their plan until their senior trip to New York, where Lara Jean fell in love with NYU.
A lot of traveling happens in this movie. First, Lara Jean’s family go to Seoul for spring break. There we learn of Lara Jean’s dad’s plan to marry his girlfriend, which opens up another plot for the movie, the wedding. Then Kitty gets a boyfriend! Which is a very minor detail, but still adorable. Then after they arrive home, it seems immediately after her trip to Seoul, we get transitioned into her senior trip to New York.
New York was such a huge change in scenery compared to both Seoul and Lara Jean’s hometown, and maybe that’s why Lara Jean, after this trip, wishes to go to NYU. She applied due to the will of her sister, and later we find out that she in fact was accepted. But Peter was not into it. At some points his reaction seemed a bit toxic, the way he reacted to Lara Jean wanting to go to NYU, but I do understand that it is quite a distance away from Stanford. Peter has some really cute scenes throughout the movie, but him reacting to Lara Jean’s dream to go to NYU just didn’t settle with me.
They fight three times during the movie, the first two times, they sweep their problems under a rug, but the last time they explode and they break up. This relationship is just really built on the idea that they will be together forever, we even see Lara Jean daydreaming about their nuclear family life, but it just does not happen. We can see Lara Jean changing herself, she originally did not please herself, only Peter. But now, she is starting to have her own dreams, and thankfully she follows them. This movie is just huge character growth for her.
The wedding was short, but very sweet, even if Lara Jean told Peter to not come. Lara Jean wears blue to the wedding. I said earlier that her clothes color represents her character growth, but I think this blue dress really shows that she is still connected to her family, as it is the entire color palette of her hometown. Nothing much happens at the wedding, only Lara Jean being absolutely depressed about Peter.
After the wedding, Kitty tells Lara Jean to go out to the backyard to grab something, which leads to the grand finale:
The last major scene is literally the best thing my eyes have ever witnessed (maybe a bit exaggerated). Lara Jean and Peter, just like in the first movie with the beginning of their relationship, agree to sign a contract (written in Lara Jeans yearbook, by Peter, which is so cute to begin with). They promise to love each other, even if they are not together, always and forever. Though their relationship was rocky, they really loved each other and this scene really ties it all together for an amazing transition to Lara Jeans new life.
Overall, this movie, even if it was a little awkward, and slow at times was really fun to watch. Like I said, a potato chip film. I really hope, if they do do another movie, that when Lara Jean is in college she meets up with another one of the boys she wrote a letter to, how romantic would that be!