“To All the Boys: Always and Forever,” a bittersweet farewell to Lara Jean



Closing up the trilogy that follows Lara Jean’s love story and high school journey, “To All the Boys: Always and Forever,” brings a whirlwind of events for our protagonist to face in the next chapter of her life.

Nancy Medrano

In “To All the Boys: Always and Forever,”  the main character Lara Jean, played by Lana Condor, faces more coming-of-age struggles. The movie, which is the conclusion to the trilogy based on the books by Jenny Han, was released on Netflix on Feb. 12, 

In the previous movies, the main focus is Lara Jean’s relationship with Peter Kavinsky, played by Noah Centineo. Whether it is insecurities within their relationship or their roles in outside relationships the couple was always able to find their way back to one another. In a refreshing turn, this movie stars the relationship Lara Jean shares with her sisters Kitty, played by Anna Cathcart and Margot, played by Janel Parrish. As Lara Jean comes to the end of her high school experience, she finds herself unsure of where life will take her and how her decisions will impact her family dynamic. 

Lara Jean is faced with two very different opportunities. One that keeps her close to her changing family and her boyfriend. The other gives her the chance to grow her independence while living in a city that quickly felt like home. 

Amidst all this, Lara Jean had a wedding to plan. Her father was marrying his girlfriend Trina Rothschild, played by Sarayu Blue. While she and her sisters were happy for their father, they struggled with the idea that their mother would be erased. Seeing Trina’s belongings in their home was bittersweet. Attending a college close to home would allow Lara Jean to remain close to her little sister Kitty and her new family. Peter is also considering a college close to home. Attending the same school would prevent an inevitable post-graduation break up like Margot and Josh experienced in the first part of the trilogy.

Prior to their senior trip to New York City, Peter meets with his father who walked out on him and his family. Their estranged relationship put pressure on his relationship with Lara Jean. Lara Jean promises to always choose Peter unlike his father. While out exploring the city with her best friend Chris, Lara Jean runs into Gen on her tour of NYU. Gen’s tour guide invites the girls to a party later that night. While at the party Lara, Chris, and Gen were recruited to steal a pink couch belonging to the tour guide’s friend. The girls carried the pink couch across the city and into an empty subway all while joking and laughing. At the end of her trip, Lara Jean finds herself interested in attending NYU and living in New York. This idea feels like a betrayal to the promise she made to Peter, leading to Peter questioning their relationship. 

While this movie is still a rom-com, I found the coming of age aspect more enjoyable as a viewer. We all were still rooting for Lara and Peter to have their happy ending. The romantic ending was predictable. But Lara Jean’s growth within the movie made the film relatable. As high schoolers, we find ourselves with a “set plan” for our futures and as we change so do our plans. Lara Jean’s passion for reading about romance turned into a passion to major in English Literature, pushing her towards NYU. But the love she feels for Peter and her family pushes her to the colleges close to home. “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” perfectly closes the chapter to high school Lara Jean and opens the chapter to who she wants to become.