- Romantic Comedy
Title: Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #3)
Author: Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
END OF AN ERA, Y’ALL. Hard to believe it was only 2.5 years ago when we first fell in love with the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before movie. (SO. MUCH. has happened since then; it feels like an actual lifetime ago, because it kind of was?) Then came the shipping wars of 2020 with P.S. I Still Love You. And now we bid farewell to these beloved characters in the final installment, To All the Boys: Always and Forever. When you muster up the wherewithal for it, put on your PPE and join me in the FYA laboratory for one last highly scientific analysis.
(The drinking game is as minimally spoiler-y as possible, but it’s a super spoiler zone after that.)
The Official FYA To All the Boys: Always and Forever Drinking Game
Take a sip whenever:
- You covet any character’s wardrobe
- Your heart breaks a little for LJ+PK
Take a drink whenever:
- You notice a callback to the earlier films
- There be PASTRIES
- Make it a double if there’s actual baking or a bakery is name-dropped
- There’s a reference to a romantic movie or book
- Chug for the duration if a bunch of them are mentioned in a row
- Lara Jean or Peter come up with a suggestion for their song
- Make it a double if you think of Taylor Swift’s “Our Song”, too
Take a shot whenever:
- Lara Jean and Peter are sharing a pair of earbuds
- There’s a forehead kiss or a kiss on the head
- You are FRUSTRATED by miscommunication problems
Finish your drink whenever:
- There’s a promposal
Raise your glass to toast:
- A GRAND ENTRANCE DOWN THOSE STAIRS
- Principal Cho, aka Jenny Freaking Han!
For fans of The Vampire Diaries, take an extra drink whenever:
- “Always and Forever” makes you think of the Salvatores
Cast and Forever
Lana Condor as Lara Jean
Our pitch perfect rom-com heroine! Lana Condor is the beating heart of this series, and she deserves the world. As for Lara Jean, she’s grown so much over these movies, and she’s only going to keep growing into her potential as she ventures off into the world on her own. (Also, the costumers seemed to love putting her in headbands and the colour blue — as they should, since she looks fantastic in both.)
Noah Centineo as Peter
Look, I am admittedly trash for Peter Kavinsky, but I’ve NEVER been so mad at him until this movie! He was just so adamant that Lara Jean would be the one to change her plans to accommodate his. Did he ever consider going to an east coast college for lacrosse?!?!? Why is she the only one who has to make all the sacrifices?!?! Of course, he was still ultimately his sweet Peter Kavinsky self, but MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS, I yelled at my TV so much.
Janel Parrish as Margot
Margot finally gets to be in more scenes with the rest of the cast! Although one thing that doesn’t change is a Margo and Lara Jean blow-up, because no one knows how to push your buttons quite like your own sister.
Anna Cathcart as Kitty
The precocious Covey is now leaning even more into being mean and opinionated. To cap off the series, Kitty meddles in Lara Jean’s life a few more times, and “I’m gonna miss you a 12” is definitely shades of “I love you 3000”.
John Corbett as Dan
Dorky doctor dad finally found someone to eat his cooking and watch his documentaries! His response to Lara Jean’s flimsy excuse for skipping school (“Mono or dysentery?”) is top tier parenting.
Sarayu Blue as Trina
Hooray for positive and relatively drama-free stepmom stories! I love how Tri’s become a part of the family while still respecting Eve’s memory. Especially when she’s dispensing sage advice like, “You’ve got a hot boyfriend. Go enjoy him!”
Madeleine Arthur as Chris
I love how she gets included in the Song girls’ gab sessions! I also know I’m getting old, because when Chris said, “I have plans and I am not swerving for any man”, I felt like a proud mother?!?!? And then when she said, “We’re in the darkest timeline”, I was like, GIRL, YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW.
Emilija Baranac as Gen
I really love the evolution of LJ and Gen’s friendship throughout this series. Knowing what they went through makes their scenes together here so much more satisfying. (My favourite being Gen complimenting Lara Jean’s shoes, which is a total 180 from their very first scene.)
Trezzo Mahoro as Lucas
LUCAS GOT TO GO TO PROM WITH A BOY! However, I’m a little unimpressed that he never got to be much more than LJ’s confidante. Chris has Costa Rica and Trevor, Gen has NYU and a fresh start with Lara Jean, but we know little else about Lucas’ life. (He’s going to Sarah Lawrence, but we don’t even know what the deal is with his prom date!)
Sofia Black-D’Elia as Heather
I had such difficulty placing the NYU tour guide, until I looked up the actor’s filmography and YES OF COURSE she was in Gossip Girl and The Mick.
Momona Tamada as Middle School Lara Jean
OUR QUEEN CLAUDIA KISHI. If Netflix wants to keep this girl gainfully employed for as long as she wants, I would not be mad about it.
Observations and Forever
- These soundtracks remain incredible — and now with even more K-pop! I mean, opening the movie with Girls’ Generation’s “Gee”?!?!? ICONIC. Followed later by Cherry Bullet’s “Q&A”? AMAZING. And then “Pretty Savage” by Blackpink?! PHENOMENAL.
- … although maybe a slight eye roll at Oasis. At least it was one of their lesser-used songs, and Oasis is pretty on brand for a teenage boy who also likes Fight Club and The Big Lebowski. (No shade at liking any of those things; my eye roll is specifically about Oasis being a forgettable concert experience.)
- I HAVE BEEN WAITING TO SEE THE MYEONGDONG SCENE EVER SINCE I ALMOST WANDERED INTO IT. Did I go back to see if I could find myself? ABSOLUTELY. Did I make the cut? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
- I love how Lara Jean and Peter’s long distance Facetime pillow talk was edited to feel like they were speaking face-to-face. This series has always been so wonderful in livening up technological communication.
- LOLOLOL at Whoa Whoa Whoa, Lara Jean’s imaginary future bestselling novel.
- Socks and K-beauty products are 100% the souvenirs to bring back from Korea.
- UGH, Say Anything. I get it, since Lara Jean loves all things rom-coms and Peter got to put his spin on the boombox gesture, but there have been OPINIONS about that movie on this very site.
- It’s not a To All the Boys movie without a sex talk — this time, featuring brisket!
- THE SEOUL AND NYC TRAVEL PORN, ugh I miss them both.
- Peter’s secret agent sneaking-out shenanigans are super cute. I did like how his instant reaction after finding out about the Stanford rejection was to ask if Lara Jean was OK, and I love the doubt and concern playing out on both of their faces whenever their future together is looking more and more uncertain.
- A NEW YORK ROOFTOP PARTY, actually one of my favourite things ever omg. (I realize these personal anecdotes might make me seem like an unrelatable asshole, but I miss doing things outside of my home, OK?)
- I love how you can see Lara Jean falling in love with New York. Who wouldn’t, as a connoisseur of commuter shoes and an accomplice to a couch-napping?!
- Because this is how my brain works: “I choose you, Peter Kavinsky” totally made me think of “I choose you, Pikachu”.
- As cute as the Big Lebowski date is, I cannot help but think of what a COVID nightmare bowling is.
- The prom dance-off is ADORBS, and every single movie on the face of the earth could be improved with a dance montage. (Do not fact check that statement.)
- LOL, Chris eating ice cream in the background of Lara Jean and Kitty’s heart-to-heart about LJ going to NYU.
- Dan and Trina’s wedding is going on so many Pinterest boards. (I like the ceremony more than the reception, although I do love me some lights.)
- I see you, wedding cake expectations and cake batter cookies reality metaphor, because “Life is beautiful and messy and never goes according to plan.”
- The actual sex scene was handled so well! It strikes a happy medium between full cut-to-dark and too salacious of a depiction involving underaged characters. It’s cute as heck, Lara Jean has complete agency (she leads Peter into the bedroom), and you see the two of them being happy afterwards.
- I was going to yell about Peter’s dad forgetting that he has a whole-ass other son, but it does look like the food truck scene at the end is a get-together of Kavinsky Sr.’s two families.
- It is canon that these movies take place in a COVID-free alternate universe where everyone is not mad at the transphobic wizard lady. (To be fair, separating the artist from the artwork can be difficult for an adult, let alone a child like Kitty with her beloved fave Harry Potter.)
- These movies have once again melted my icy heart and succeeded in making me cry. I had a few close calls with feeling nostalgic for travelling, of all things, but the yearbook scene got me.
- The swimfantage end credits with footage of the cast from the entire series is *chef’s kiss*.
- According to the Jenny Han’s cameo arc, Principal Cho was in the middle school flashback from Movie #1, then she was at present day Adler High in Movie #2, but not as the principal because she’s not at the graduation ceremony in Movie #3. What happened to Former Principal Cho’s career?!?!??! (These are the gems you get when you watch anything with me.)
- I had thought that this installment was Subway-free, which is kind of ironic given their omnipresence in K-dramas and the movie partially taking place in Korea, but Trevor gave Chris a bouquet of Subway sandwiches for his promposal, so crisis averted!
Adaptation and Forever
- My memory of the novel is extremely fuzzy, but I remember it being a perfectly bittersweet ending to the series. I think I was much more emotional about the book, but I also didn’t rewatch the previous movies in preparation like I had for the books, because I was apparently much better at planning back in 2017.
- The Song Coveys’ dog Jamie Fox-Pickle got renamed to Henry? An ordinary man’s name?! Book Kitty would never. (I did dig Henry’s wedding aesthetic, though.)
- The Prom Queen who’s also Gen’s friend is Emily Nussbaum! I love it when minor book details make it into adaptations.
- Obviously, the adaptations switched a lot of stuff around geographically; the books are set in Virginia, whereas the movies are set in British Columbia Oregon. (Also, in the third book, Lara Jean chooses UNC while Peter chooses UVA, instead of NYU and Stanford.) Even though I would have enjoyed another city getting the spotlight — as Lara Jean herself points out that so many stories already take place there — New York is the quintessential rom-com city, and it makes perfect sense that LJ would fall in love with it.
- Another welcome change: moving up the Korea trip to Spring Break instead of after graduation so that the audience can vicariously travel there!
Conclusions and Forever
What more is there left for me to say, y’all? This movie may have its ups and downs, but it’s also a beautiful send-off to a lovely series. Just like Lara Jean, I’m a person who saves things, so I’ll hold onto these films forever.
What did y’all think of To All the Boys: Always and Forever? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
To All the Boys: Always and Forever is now streaming on Netflix.