I honestly can’t believe we’re at the end of the To All The Boys I Loved Before series and at the last review. I so clearly remember falling in love with the series back in summer 2018.
To bring you up to speed, I loved the first movie. Like obsessed. Could not think of anything else other than Peter Kavinsky for weeks. It was a perfect rom-com.
Then the second movie came out and it was a dud. I get it, people change and we can’t always be together but the breakup hurt. Noah Centineo no longer had the charm and the switch from Director Susan Johnson to Michael Fimognari didn’t work. But it was so disappointing because the 2nd book was so good.
It’s important for context here that we talk about the books before we get into the movie. As we all know, the series is based off the To All The Boys Trilogy by Jenny Han. In my opinion, books one and two were great, book three was… not for me.
I fell in love with the series because I loved Lara Jean. She was this cool independent girl who had her own thing going on. She didn’t need a boyfriend, but Peter augmented her life. I struggled with the third book because I was extremely frustrated with Lara Jean’s behaviour throughout the book. I have little to no empathy for grade 12s picking universities based on their friends or romantic partners. It’s my opinion that young people should be doing what’s truly best for them when it comes to picking a school. I felt like this cool girl, who did her own thing – completely lost the plot. I wanted it to end with LJ going to culinary school and learning to make the world’s best cupcakes. It did not end that way and I was deeply disappointed.
So after the disaster of the 2nd movie – I was worried. This production team screwed up the 2nd story (which was a good book) – what were they going to do with the 3rd story (that wasn’t good to begin with).
Well. I was pleasantly surprised. This is officially one of the rare times where the movie was better than the book.
There are some MAJOR plot differences between the movie and the book and I’m so glad they went where they did. I loved that we started the movie with the trip to Korea rather than have it in the middle of the book. We cut the Beach Week trip and replaced it with a trip to NYC (which was much more exciting). They changed the schools and upped the stakes (Stanford/UCBerkeley/ NYU vs UVA/UNC/William and Mary). They completely cut the storyline where Peter’s mom asks Lara Jean to break up with Peter (thankfully!). There were just a lot of smart choices that made the movie that much better. I really like Jenny Han – I think she’s a good writer but she needed a better editor and she finally got one.
Still with me? Let’s get into the movie 🙂
So much of what makes these movies great is the soundtracks and aesthetics. It just feels good to exist in the To All The Boys world. Everything about this movie was beautiful and I want to live in it. The Korea scenes were wonderful, the Vancouver locations were beautiful, and the sets they created were stunning. The costumes were all so well crafted and the little details in the props and accessories were so well thought out. The whole production team should be very proud of the product they created.
As always – Lana Condor is a joy. She is such a wonderful lead and I’m so excited to see where her career goes after leaving Lara Jean Covey. She made me love and root for her character and as Lara Jean evolved, Lana kept us coming back to her. I could go on and on about how much I loved her and I will 100% be watching anything else she does in the future. She has a few projects in pre-production and I hope her team has made smart moves for her post franchise because she could have a long career after this.
Another actress with a long career in front of her is Anna Cathcart aka Kitty. I laugh every time she’s on screen. She is a scene stealer and if they ever wanted to make a To All The Boys spin off with Kitty – I would be there for it. Kitty has been a bright light throughout the series and this movie was no different. I loved that she had a long distance Korean boyfriend. I loved that she wore a suit to the wedding. I loved her feminist moments. My only complaint was that there wasn’t enough Kitty. Always give us more Kitty.
On the flip side – we’ve got Noah Centineo’s Peter Kavinsky. We all love Peter Kavinsky, but I think the internet collectively regrets our relationship with our one time internet boyfriend Noah Centineo. The problem is that we look at Peter Kavinsky and see our deep disappointment in Noah and that’s a hard feeling to shake. It’s more of a reflection on us – like why did we love this human? Yes he was hot in the hot tub scene, and when he did that little back pocket spin – but he hasn’t had those charming moments since. I’m genuinely concerned about his career after this. I worry that this was his one and done role, because nearly everything else he’s been in has flopped. He might have the movie equivalent of a one-hit wonder. Which is a shame… because 2018 Peter Kavinsky/Noah Centineo was perfect.
That being said… Peter Kavinsky made me cry multiple times throughout this movie. I can’t give him all the credit though – I sobbed through 90% of this movie.
I started 12 minutes in. I just started welling up thinking about the idea of watching a movie with someone. I watch movies with my roommate, but I miss lying on the couch and watching movies with friends. I want to share an airpod with someone and watch a movie. Then the promposals started up – remember crowds? Tears started streaming. Then Lara Jean and Peter go to a diner… I want to go to a restaurant. Cue uncontrollable crying. Like none of this makes a good movie but the movie did make me feel things and isn’t that the mark of a good movie? I’m not sure.
Then they went to New York City and it was great. It was such a fun section of the movie but again – TEARS. I want to travel, go to cute cafes, sneak out to parties, see bands perform live and the list goes on…
This movie hit me hard. Everything was triggering.
I’m not in High School, but I wanted to go to Prom. Like it got ridiculous how jealous I got of Lara Jean and her ability to hug her friends and you know… be in the same room as other people.
I wonder if I would have loved this movie or felt so viscerally moved by it if we hadn’t been in a lockdown environment for so long? I think I would have been into it but I don’t think I would have cried throughout the movie.
I wish I could have watched this movie with a group of friends. Watching it alone on Valentines weekend when I can’t be around my people. Soul destroying.
Will I watch this movie again? I watched it twice to write this review but I don’t think I’ll come back to it.
Movie One – the original To All The Boys I Loved Before will be on my roster of movies to rewatch and love time and time again, but I think I’ll skip movies two and three. Three was definitely better than movie two, but I didn’t need it.
Anyways – I loved spending the last few years with Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky. I wish them nothing but the best as they go off to college and I do hope it all works out for them. I’m sure it will.
Up next in the Jenny Han universe is the TV series of The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy. If you haven’t read these books – book one is perfect and then like TATBs, it just falls apart as the books go on. I’m hoping that the story editors once again work their magic and fix Jenny’s ending because her characters are so wonderful and she deserves a strong ending. Stay tuned