My Honest Thoughts About ‘To All the Boys: Always & Forever’

The last instalment of the To All The Boys trilogy is about Lara Jean & Peter Kavinsky’s final days in high school.

Hot Take
4 min read
A still from <i>To All the Boys: Always &amp; Forever.</i>

(Spoiler Alert! This piece has spoilers if you haven’t watched To All The Boys: Forever and Always)

Do you have any idea how depressing it is to watch a rom-com right when Valentine’s Day is around the corner? I do. Honestly, it doesn’t even matter if the movie is excruciatingly sappy and cringe or beautiful in a soul-crushing way. If you’re with someone, good for you, but if you’re not, movies like To All The Boys: Forever and Always might just add some salt to your wounds.

The last instalment in the To All The Boys trilogy is about Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky’s final days in high school. After graduation, both of them want to go to college together. So when Peter gets into Stanford, and Lara Jean doesn’t, they find themselves at a crossroads where they have to come up with a way to make their relationship work while still navigating college separately. So, while Lara Jean and Peter were figuring this out, here’s how my experience of the movie went:

1. I honestly thought I was past that phase where I would crush over every male lead in every movie I saw. Then, Noah Centineo happened. I’m a total simp now.

2. The movie starts with Lara Jean on a trip to Seoul, South Korea, along with her family. When she returns, Peter is at her house to surprise her with a ‘Welcome Back’ banner and a fully-decorated living room. I mean, in what parallel universe is a boyfriend so dedicated, caring, good looking and all-in-all PERFECT at the same time? This is exactly where most people develop unrealistic dating expectations from. I hope you’re happy now, Peter! Thanks for nothing. *sighs*

3. When Lara Jean Face-Times Peter from Seoul, he cracks a joke about the 16 hour time difference between them and asks, “How’s the future?” followed by “Tell me what Friday’s gonna be like”. Umm... I’ll just say here that Peter is lucky he’s so good looking because his jokes most definitely aren’t the thing that made Lara Jean fall for him.

4. So like I said, when the movie began, Peter and Lara Jean are talking about how they’ll go to Stanford together and how life will be perfect. But my question is, how do you SO CASUALLY talk about getting into Stanford?! Yeah, you might be smart, but just assuming that you’ll get in is a bit much, don’t you think?

5. When Lara Jean doesn’t get in (surprise, surprise), she is talking about how it’s okay, and how she might end up settling and going to Berkeley or UCLA. AS IF IT’S A BAD THING?! They might not be Stanford, but I just can’t deal with these first-world problems anymore.

6. Here is where the plot gets a bit confusing. Through a small misunderstanding, Peter believes that Lara Jean did, in fact, get into Stanford which launches him into a full celebration mode. And what does she do? She actually plays along with it! Instead of coming clean and confessing that she didn’t get in, she actually lets the poor guy marinate in his blissful ignorance FOR DAYS! Yes, that’s right!

7. How does Lara Jean look so perfect while baking anything?? She literally has a wisp of baking powder on her cheek, and that’s it! Whereas when I’m cooking, not only am I in a pitiful mess, but my kitchen is even more miserable. Remind me never to take cooking inspiration from movies and TV shows.

8. Kudos to Lara Jean’s best friend Chris, who did not shame her after finding out that Lara Jean hadn’t had sex yet. The world needs more friends like her.

9. It was time for prom, and honestly I was disappointed that throughout the whole thing, NOT ONE student got shitfaced. What’s the point of prom if someone doesn’t get unabashedly drunk and create a scene? TBH, I expected more from these kids.

10. Three words: NEW YORK CITY.

11. I’ll give credit where it’s due. I assumed the entire plot about Gen (Peter’s ex-girlfriend) would be focused around her rivalry with Lara Jean. The typical rift between the present girlfriend and the ex, you know? But boy, was I glad to be wrong on that one! As the movie progressed, a sweet friendship bloomed between the two where Lara Jean actually sought advice from Gen about joining NYU. For all the clichés that the movie showed, this was a surprisingly good change.

12. Plus points to the movie makers for their efforts in diversifying their cast. While some people might still think it’s far from perfect, it’s definitely a lot more than what I’ve seen in most other movies.

13. In an epilogue of sorts, a small sequence has Lara Jean narrating how despite everything, her life is not perfect, how the future has tons of uncertainty and so on... Ummm?? What am I missing here?? Girl, your boyfriend literally reconciled with you in a magically decorated tent while giving you an amazing present, you’re leaving soon to attend one of the top universities in the country, and your family is perfect too! If this isn’t a happy ending, I have no clue what is.

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