‘To all the Boys: Always and Forever’ pleasantly surprises

Acting and overall directing topples an overused storyline


Fair use from Netflix

Gillian Kapinos

The first movie was an instant classic. The second, a breakup-filled mess — and on Feb. 12, nearly a year from the second release, the third and final, “To all the Boys” installment came out with an overused plot, yet an adequate execution.

“To all the Boys: Always and Forever” follows Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) throughout their senior year. Peter and Lara plan to go to Stanford University following high school, but when Lara gets rejected, a trip to New York changes her views. We watch the couple navigate their last year of high school together, with major highs and deep lows. 

This plot, where the couple plans to go to college together but one half doesn’t get in and they have to figure out a long distance relationship, is so overused in the film industry. I enjoy it when it’s well executed, but otherwise it’s boring and cheesy. 

I see this trope mostly in sequel films that seem unable to come up with a creative continuation of struggles for their characters, like “The Kissing Booth,” another Netflix original movie series. Another overused rom-com image I’ve seen in this movie, and a lot of others, is the couple having some sort of big breakup and then needing a grand gesture to make up for it. It’s boring, and the audience can usually tell what the general end will be like.

Considering the bland story, the actors actually did a good job of executing it. I was engaged the whole movie and it kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next. The cute thing about this movie is that they planted small Easter eggs in the beginning and brought them back full circle by the end. Doing this keeps the audience watching because they want to see how the small details they said in the beginning will further the plot in the end. I was pleasantly surprised that it was actually good, being a Netflix original rom-com.

Overall the movie wasn’t dreadful. They could’ve delved deeper into their emotions, making the first movie in the trilogy the best of the three, with the third being a close second. I don’t think this would be a movie I’d reach for often, it’s more of a slumber party movie than anything. I do wish for a fourth movie, about them going through college, but I see why they needed to end it at the third and I believe it’s the smartest decision. 

To all the Boys: Always and Forever: ★★★☆☆