The third, and hopefully final, installment of To All the Boys rejoins the fun with the Covey family in Seoul remembering their mother and exploring their cultural past. Lara Jean, Lana Condor, is still dating Peter, Noah Centineo. Peter has been accepted to Stanford to play lacrosse and Lara Jean is waiting on her anticipated acceptance.
The first movie had broad appeals as it was a fond look back at high school or first loves for all of us. It told a fun story and was genuinely enjoyable. The second film, P.S. I Still Love You, had already started running out of steam with a love triangle storyline. Peter moves from the villain in the first film, to a victim in the second movie, and finishes in the third movie as the more thoughtful and likable character. Lara Jean progresses the other way.
The film firmly plants itself in a narrow window of time. It takes place entirely between spring break and graduation. It focuses on modern-day high school, like promposals and college acceptance videos. It is much harder to relate to than the first film because of such a narrow focus. It also adds in a spurious plotline of Lara Jean’s father getting married to Trina. I think the film was trying to show parallels of mid-life second marriages to the relationship Peter and Lara Jean have, but that feels like grasping at straws.
The cast of this film is very diverse, even in background shots. It is still wonderful to see an Asian American female lead in any film. I just wish the story had held up better or the number of films was reduced. This did not feel like it necessitated a three-film series, and it gets harder to justify each time. This installment also came in at 1:55 long and does not deserve more than 90 minutes. It feels padded out with no justification. With the dearth of new films, this will probably get more attention than it deserves. It is an ok watch, but you will probably find yourself distracted by other things going on around you.