“To All the Boys: Always and Forever” is the final installment of the Netflix Original, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” Trilogy, and it provides one final goodbye to the beloved characters.
Following the 2018 “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” and its 2020 sequel, “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You,” the new film shifts the focus from the love life of protagonist Lara Jean, played by Lana Condor, to the character’s own self-discovery and upcoming college decision. Noah Centineo reprises his role as the main love interest, Peter Kavinski, who plans to attend Stanford University with Lara Jean after high school.
However, following her spring break trip to South Korea and a life-changing class trip to New York City, Lara Jean begins to reconsider her future and Peter’s place in it.
Since its release on Netflix on Feb. 12, it has been met with generally favorable reviews.
Critics have praised “Always and Forever” for providing Lara Jean with more agency and character development than in the first two movies. Additionally, it provides a refreshing take on Lara Jean’s Korean background by addressing it without glamorizing it.
“The film wraps things up with a swoon, effectively pulling at the nostalgic heartstrings,” says Adrian Horton of The Guardian.
However, some critics and fans are left unsatisfied with the conclusion of Lara Jean’s story.
“None of it is executed with the flair this trilogy demonstrated it was capable of showing in its first outing,” Constance Grady of “Vox.” said. “It all feels a little bit generic, a little bit lazy, a little bit too sweet.”
While Candor and Centineo’s chemistry carries the film, other elements such as the seemingly out-of-place literature and movie references or the multiple montage sequences eliminate the charm of the original film.
The first film, directed by Susan Johnson, received much more critical acclaim and overall hype. Perhaps the change of directors to Michael Fimognari contributes to the disappointing turn of the two sequels, which are lackluster in comparison to the original.
Although it does not match the delight of the initial release, it provides an adequate conclusion to the fan-favorite series by capturing the pivotal nature of senior year while not diminishing the teenage emotional experience.
“To All the Boys: Always and Forever” is currently available to watch on Netflix.