Disclaimer: Spoiler alerts ahead!
Usually, if I’ve read a great book that gets adapted for film, then I’ll watch the movie. And usually, close to 99 per cent of the time, the book is better.
If there’s one thing you should know (that I usually try to hide), I’m a sucker for romantic comedies (rom-coms). I guess I might call it a guilty pleasure of mine – the cheesier, the better. So, you can imagine how excited I was when Netflix released its third and final installment of To All the Boys.
I never got around to reading the books, but something tells me that’s probably a good thing; not having the opportunity to judge the movie from the perspective of knowing the book is (probably) better.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was released on Netflix in 2018 and I fell in love with the first film of the trilogy. I wish my high school experience was that entertaining and romance-filled. Why didn’t I write love letters to my past loves that my sister could have potentially mailed? Well, probably because I wasn’t in touch with any of my emotions at that age.
However, I think that’s the first sign of a great rom-com; it has the audacity and ability to be completely unrealistic, while still making the audience want every aspect of that unrealistic life. I’m not even in high school anymore, but I almost wish I could go back and have something like that happen to me. It would never happen because it’s not realistic, but a girl can daydream.
The second film, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, wasn’t as great as the first one. I guess that’s to be expected since most sequels don’t live up to the hype of the previous movie. SPOILER ALERT: As much as I love Lara Jean and Peter together, I really wanted her to end up with John Ambrose. They seemed to be a match made in heaven. Although, opposites do attract. I guess Peter was the right decision, after all. I love rom-coms and a happy ending is always going to be perfect for me.
Needless to say, I was thrilled about the pre-Valentine’s Day release of To All the Boys: Always and Forever, but a little disappointed that it’s the final one (I mean, even Twilight’s final installment got two parts). I’m also really glad they filmed the second and third simultaneously because I (and everyone else) didn’t have to wait an eternity to find out if the third film would be picked up by Netflix. Side note: I’m impatiently waiting on the platform to confirm season two of Julie and the Phantoms, but that has nothing to do with this review.
Anyway, To All the Boys: Always and Forever was actually really amazing and really satisfying in so many different ways. I love that Lara Jean was able to explore her feelings and follow her own path – she seemed to struggle with that in the previous movies. This film even took us on a mini-vacay! Since we can’t actually travel, we got to live vicariously through Lara Jean’s travels to Korea, as well as New York City with her besties and BAE (“To be young and in love in New York City”).
I love Peter and Lara Jean’s love story (including their meet-cute) and even though their love story is far from over, we’ll never know the true ending, but I think they did a really great job of tying up all loose ends. It’s non-fiction and we can all predict what might have happened to the long-distance lovers. At the end of the day, it doesn’t even matter. We got a happy ending!
As I previously mentioned, I’m a sucker for a cheesy rom-com and for that reason – I give this movie an A+ because it managed to hit every emotion and give me butterflies about a relationship that has nothing to do with me.
It’s actually pretty embarrassing how much I loved this trilogy. When my husband asked about the film, I may have downplayed how much I actually loved it. It was just so darn cute!
I do, however, have a teeny-tiny, minor issue with this film; it’s the raw emotions and selfless acts.
I know the real-life actors, Noah Centineo and Lana Condor, are a bit older than the 17/18-year-old characters they play. While it’s easy to believe their love (in the movie) is true, I find it hard to believe that those same emotions translate to high schoolers. Don’t get me wrong – It’s not that I think it’s impossible to have intense feelings at a young age. For me, high school was an emotional roller coaster. However, I do not remember being that in tune or in touch with my feelings and wants.
I think one of the most unbelievable moments was after Peter asked LJ if she was having fun at prom and she responded saying she’s feeling lonely. Pause – you expect me to believe 18-year-old Peter Kavinsky gave up being with his buddies – for what could have been one of their final nights together before graduation – to go dance with LJ? What happened in between the second and third film that made Peter mature so much? Also, there was a plan for the couple to see each other every single day of their college life – SPOILER ALERT: before Lara Jean decided to go to school all the way across the country. Anyway, my point being, it seems unrealistic that Peter would go out of his way to semi-ditch his friends to dance with LJ. He really understood her needs and took care of her.
Then again, it’s that unrealistic love story that made me love this story.
Who am I kidding? I have no qualms about any part of any of the movies or how much I love them. I’m going to make time to read the trilogy written by Jenny Han.
And in honour of rom-coms and all its cheesy goodness, I’ve decided to put together a small list of some of my favourites. What’s your favourite rom-com? Do you prefer the older or newer ones, or a little bit of both? Let me know in the comments!
Serendipity (2001) – Imagine leaving your love life up to fate; this is a classic that stars Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack.
You’ve Got Mail (1998) – Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks star in this classic 90s film about two business rivals (local shop vs. brand name – sounds relevant) who unknowingly fall for each other over the internet.
Just Wright (2010) – Starring Queen Latifah and Common, this story is about a physical therapist’s dream job and the true love she deserves; it’s also a timeless story of loyalty, friendship, love and light.
Just Go With It (2011) – It’s the ending for me; the happy ending is perfect in this Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston rom-com about coworkers who realize they’re perfect for each other.
No Strings Attached (2011) – Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher star as friends with benefits, which obviously, eventually leads to more.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003) – Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson play characters on two very different missions (unbeknownst to each other): one has to make a girl fall in love with him in 10 days, while the other is trying to lose a guy in 10 days.
13 Going on 30 (2004) – One of my all-time favourite movies, Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo’s characters were childhood friends, but as she magically transports to the future, her dream life isn’t what she expected.
All love stories, old and new where you leave it up to fate, where anything is possible. A sense of hope and the unknown is intriguing!