There’s a very likely possibility that Always and Forever, Lara Jean film reviews are blowing up your blog feed this Monday morning, but the final Netflix adaptation of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series is worth all the love and more. Always and Forever, Lara Jean hit Netflix this past Friday, February 12th, and this blogger put it on as soon as she got home from work on Friday afternoon. You might know that Always & Forever, Lara Jean is my favorite book in the TATBILB trilogy, meaning that I had highly and somewhat nervously anticipating this third film. I really love the Netflix adaptations of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You because they truly capture the heart of the books. I’m so happy to say that Always and Forever, Lara Jean met my expectations and more. **Warning that within this review, there are spoilers for both the film and book.
I knew going into the film, based on the trailer and the changes between book and movie in the first two films, that there were going to be a few changes in detail. I think some of the biggest changes between book and film result from the fact that the film series takes place in the Pacific Northwest, while the books take place in Virginia. Instead of UVA, Peter and Lara Jean both have their hearts set on Stanford, with Lara Jean being swayed by another California school and New York University vs. William & Mary and UNC. I actually thought Lara Jean’s interest in NYU made so much sense because she really enjoys being in the city during the senior trip (even though I love having UNC in the books as a nod to Jenny Han’s own alma mater).
Despite the change in setting, I really liked that Peter and Lara Jean’s trajectory stays the same. I didn’t like the slight bump in Lara Jean telling him the truth about Stanford, but it overall didn’t affect the plot too much. I sort’ve wish their big fight happened like it did in the book vs. taking place at prom, but I am happy with what stayed true to the book too much to get too upset. I was so, so happy that Peter’s memory about his and Lara Jean’s real meet cute stayed in the movie (and I LOVED the cameo involved).
One somewhat general change I really liked about the movies is that there were so many added details within the trips, specifically the Coveys’ trip to Korea and Lara Jean’s senior trip to NYC. I sort’ve wish the film would’ve went more into the summertime when the Coveys actually go to Korea and even included senior week at the beach, but I LOVED getting to go around Korea with the Coveys. I liked that Dr.Covey and Trina joined the girls on the trip. I especially thought the padlock scene at Seoul Tower with the girls and their dad felt so right for the film, since it paid a nod to their mother and the impending addition of Trina to the family.
Regarding the NYC trip, while I was somewhat disappointed that we didn’t see Lara Jean and Peter running around the city together like in the books (I really wanted him to surprise her with Levain cookies), I loved the added details. Specifically, it was actually really fun to see Lara Jean run around the city with her girlfriends, Gen and Chris. Chris actually makes more appearances in the book than I remembered the first time around, but I loved how she really took on a more of a main character vs. supporting role in the film.
When it came to the Covey sisters, I do wish we got to see a bit more Margot, even though I like how the film treated her adjustment to Trina. Kitty made me laugh and smile the most as always. I did appreciate how they made her a tad more mature with her first ‘boyfriend’ – fingers-crossed that one day will get a spinoff series following the youngest Covey! Although I had plenty of feels throughout, the one scene where I did actually cry was when Kitty admits how much she’ll really miss Lara Jean when she goes to college. The wedding was just like how I imagined it my head, from the backyard wedding to Kitty’s tux to Lara Jean and Peter’s scene.
Just like the book, Always & Forever, Lara Jean has the perfect balance of Lara Jean’s relationship with Peter, her family, her friendships, and most importantly, making the transformation from high school Lara Jean to college ready, young adult Lara Jean. The ending was so hopeful and perfect to Lara Jean’s future, with a touch of bittersweetness. While I’m sad to see this film trilogy come to an end, I’ll always & forever be grateful to have seen one of my all-time favorite series come to life on screen.
Have you watched Always and Forever, Lara Jean? What did you think? What’s your favorite TATBILB film or book? Share in the comments!