Illustration by Sonja Vasiljeva for an article on To All the Boys: Always and Forever
Is the final film an appropriate send off for Netflix's favorite couple? (Illustration by Sonja Vasiljeva, San Jose State University)

In ‘To All the Boys: Always and Forever,’ Lara Jean Makes Tough Decisions

Is the third time always a charm? In the last installment of Netflix’s beloved teen romance trilogy, we finally get to see how it all ends for Peter and Lara Jean.

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Illustration by Sonja Vasiljeva for an article on To All the Boys: Always and Forever

Is the third time always a charm? In the last installment of Netflix’s beloved teen romance trilogy, we finally get to see how it all ends for Peter and Lara Jean.

Based off of the trilogy “To All the Boys” written by Jenny Han, Netflix’s adaption for the third book, “To All the Boys: Always and Forever,” released globally on Feb. 12, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Last year’s “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” introduced a new love interest for Lara Jean. With that now out of the way, “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” explores the evolving nature of Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky’s relationship when college admissions come into the picture. Peter gets a lacrosse scholarship to Stanford, while Lara Jean is struggling on whether to go to Berkeley and stay close to her boyfriend, or to go to New York University and be 3000 miles away from her loved ones.

“To All the Boys: Always and Forever” can now be streamed on Netflix.

Warning: spoilers ahead.

Getting Accepted into Stanford

At the beginning of “To All the Boys: Always and Forever,” Lara Jean stresses over her pending admission to Stanford. She plans out her entire future with Peter and is certain that her relationship with him will last forever. Her future plans eventually crumble when she finds out that she was rejected from Stanford. Lara Jean begins to think of alternatives, such as attending Berkeley instead since it’s only an hour drive away. Peter even chimes in and advises Lara Jean to transfer to Stanford after one year at Berkeley.

It didn’t feel right to see Lara Jean try so hard to get into Stanford just for Peter Kavinsky. It also felt like Peter was being too pushy about the couple attending the same college together. They were both trying so hard to control something that they couldn’t, that they forgot their relationship was not based solely on their college admissions.

Traveling to Seoul and New York City

It was through traveling that Lara Jean was able to gradually find herself and what she wanted for her future. In Seoul, Lara Jean is able to connect with her Korean half and spend some quality time with her family. On their school trip to New York City, Lara Jean goes to a college party where she ends up coming to the realization that NYC is where she really belongs. She begins to contemplate whether or not she should attend NYU or go to Berkeley to be closer to Peter.

Social distancing and being in quarantine for so long has made the movie feel surreal. It was a bit weird seeing a big group of people traveling without wearing any masks.

Nonetheless, Lara Jean’s decision to go to New York University is a reflection of her incredible growth throughout the movie. She learns to express to Peter what she really wants, setting boundaries for her own future without anyone influencing her decisions. With this choice, Lara Jean learns how to cope with the idea of being far away from her loved ones.

The Face Mask Incident

The scene occurs closer to the beginning of the movie, when Lara Jean arrives back home from her trip to South Korea. Peter welcomes her back and proceeds to hang out with her for the rest of the night. Lara Jean begins to give the gifts and souvenirs she brought back with her from South Korea to Peter. Peter puts on a Korean face mask, but then takes it off with a pained look, grabbing a towel to wipe the product off his face.

Peter’s Promposal

Peter’s promposal is actually a lot sweeter in the movie — in the book, Peter tries too hard to live up to romance movie heroes. He decides to reenact the teddy bear scene from “Sleepless in Seattle.” It all goes awry when a security guard at the Empire State building viewing deck confiscates the bear.

In the movie, Peter and Lara Jean’s diner scenes were always a staple. It was the place where they had their first real talk, and now it becomes the place where he asks her out to prom.

Lara Jean finds herself looking out of her window to see her boyfriend blasting music, waiting for her to come down. Peter then takes Lara Jean out to the diner and orders a plate of pancakes. He claims that he forgot to ask for whipped cream and gets up to go “fix” his order. He eventually comes back with a cute plate of pancakes with strawberries on top that says “Prom?” and gets on one knee to ask her out.

New Contract

“To All the Boys: Always and Forever” ends off with Peter and Lara Jean making a new contract. In the very first movie, the contract that bound the couple together was for a fake relationship. Both Peter and Lara Jean stated their rules and expectations.

Now in this new one, Peter is the person who constructs it. He starts it off by talking about his very first memory of Lara Jean back in sixth grade and continues to express his deep love for her. Peter notes that if they’re going to be together forever, then four years apart at college isn’t going to make too much of a difference in the long run. This is a reference to their theme song in “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” called “Beginning Middle End” by Leah Nobel. The song showcases Lara Jean’s love of storytelling, and its lyrics also match the couple’s wish to be together always and forever.

Overall, “To All the Boys: Always and Forever” is definitely a movie that should be watched during quarantine, and it was a smart marketing move for Netflix to release it during Valentine’s season. After the couple goes through many trials and tribulations during high school, the movie ends with an open ending for viewers to decide what will happen to Peter Kavinsky and Lara Jean Covey’s relationship in college.

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