Movie #98 2021: To All the Boys: Always and Forever (2021)

Surprise! I actually watched this movie immediately after To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You and completely forgot to review it. I have no concrete explanation for this other than that I must have merged the second and third movies together in my brain and assumed that I’d reviewed both. Oops. So back to February 16th we go (the day I actually watched this movie) so I can try to recall what I thought about it…

As you’ll probably be aware of at this point, To All the Boys: Always and Forever is the third and final instalment in this trilogy. The movie brings us back to Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and the gang, and focuses on their next step in life: getting into college. Though she and boyfriend Peter (Noah Centineo) plan to go to the same college, LJ doesn’t get in, which throws a spanner in the works. When the entire class go on a trip to visit NYU, Lara falls in love with it and she begins to reconsider her plans… both with Peter and without him.

Aaaaand it all culminates in the best soundtrack of the trilogy. Nice work. Popular music choices span from Spice Girls and Blackpink to Little Richard and LAUV. I’d say that’s a pretty great soundtrack, wouldn’t you? As the previous films had a similar music vibe about them, it came as no surprise. However, this is definitely the best of the three, so that’s at least one positive checked off the list for Always and Forever.

And guess what? The music isn’t the only redeeming quality about this movie! I actually think this is the best instalment of the whole series. It leans way more into the standard coming-of-age, going to college rite of passage genre than the others. There just seemed to be more of a solid storyline than its siblings, and yes, I’m including the first movie in that deduction. 

As the characters are more grown up and I remember going to college more clearly than sending love letters to my ex-boyfriends (which, for the record, I certainly did not do), there was just something about this one that felt more relatable to me. Maybe because he characters had aged a little bit more and I’m closer in age to Janel Parrish than anyone else in this movie, it all felt more realistic and less childish. I’m not saying I’ll remember it next week, but it was a pleasant watch. (That’s a note I made at the time of watching. So when I said I forgot to review it, I really wasn’t lying.)

A couple of extra things I’d like to point out: Have these kids never heard of planes? Why are they so hung up on distance when planes exist? Why are they doing 20 hour round trip drives? Also, there’s a scene in which Lara Jean writes down a list of movies… and X-Men Apocalypse is on the list! 😱 Very meta. I love finding these little details in films, even when the film itself isn’t all that notable.

I’m still not convinced about Noah Centineo and the whole thing is incredibly mediocre overall, but it’s still quite a sweet teen romp.

Good performances, good cinematography (the animations were great, actually), and again, good soundtrack. I wouldn’t say it’s ‘not to be missed’, but it’s certainly not a waste of time.

To All the Boys: Always and Forever is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Rating: ½

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