Written by: Molly Scully
Just like any other book lover, I face the internal struggle of both hoping for a beloved book to turn into a movie and worrying that it is going to be ruined. After a knockout first movie and questionable sequel, I had my reservations about the third movie in the To All the Boys series.
To All the Boys is a trilogy that follows the romance between Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky. They start their romance by pretending to date to make Peter’s ex-girlfriend jealous, but it soon turns into a real relationship.
Then in the sequel, another boy, John Ambrose McClaren, comes into the picture, and Lara Jean and Peter temporarily break up. The final installment shows the two of them dealing with the fact that they won’t be going to the same college in the fall and will have to either break up or try to make a long-distance relationship work.
As a fan of the books, I loved the first movie, but I was a little disappointed by the second film due to the cliched love triangle. I feel like the characters lost their spark a bit and were not true to their characters; they hurt each others’ feelings in ways that did not fit in with their characters’ personalities.
Happily, after seeing the third movie, I can report that Peter and Lara Jean act like themselves once again. We get to see the adorable, loving relationship between Lara Jean and Peter, but the film still shows their flaws, like worries about their relationship surviving. The movie nails Peter’s amazing sense of humor and goofiness that make the relationship that much more sweet, such as his obnoxious way of congratulating Lara Jean when he thinks she got into Stanford or his asking her out on a date as if they are in a spy movie. Then again, it also shows Peter and Lara Jean struggling to see a future with each other, given their circumstances.
We get so invested with them that when Lara Jean finds out she did not get into Stanford and won’t be going to college with Peter next year, it breaks our hearts; he was lucky enough to get into this amazing school with a sports scholarship, while Lara Jean wasn’t able to make it in. It’s also so relatable. I think everyone has had that moment where they open up their application letter from a school and see, “We regret to inform you…” It’s such a crushing feeling, especially when you think you’ve earned an acceptance letter instead, and it’s a tragic scene in the movie when the realization dawns on Lara Jean, Peter, and the audience that this relationship may not survive.
Fortunately, in true rom-com fashion, Lara Jean and Peter find a way to make it work in the end of the movie that perfectly sums up the trilogy; the trilogy starts with Peter getting a love letter from Lara Jean, and it ends with Lara Jean getting a love letter from Peter. This series is so clever, and yes it’s a rom-com with typical rom-com cliches, but it stands out against others. The characters are so relatable, raw with their emotions, and have such clever dialogue that it is easy for viewers to get attached to them and root for their relationship as if it’s real life and not just a movie.