REVISION: For the summer holidays, Lara Jean and her family – Daddy Dan Covey (John Corbett), older sister Margot (Janel Parrish), mischievous Kitty Covey (Anna Cathcart) and Dan’s lover Trina (Sarayu Blue) – visit Seoul. and the gang relives memories of LJ’s long-deceased mother. At home, Peter is losing his patience over phone calls spread across different time zones and the adorable antics of his desperately romantic girlfriend. Little does the soccer enthusiast know that there are bigger rocks to dodge in this seemingly perfect relationship … Guess what they say is right: Life gets real after high school and the duo are starting to feel the heat. Do they sail or sink? ‘To All The Boys: Always and Forever’ spurts and adds a dash of pragmatism in its third installment.
The narrative picks up from where it left off and this time around writers Katie Lovejoy and Jenny Han (whose novel ‘To All The Boys I Have Loved Before’ on which this film is based) add a refreshing twist to their girl-meet. -guy. trope introducing an adverse adverse conflict into the life of the main couple: high school was peaches and roses, but what’s next? ‘To All The Boys: Always and Forever’ isn’t the most imaginative script in the rom-com genre, but it’s the crackling chemistry between Noah Centineo’s Peter and Lana Condor’s LJ that makes this teen love marathon amazing. .
Lana as Lara Jean is her regular, great! – being endearing in this sequel and the lady’s control over this role is commendable; 10 minutes into the movie and it already feels like an ongoing love letter and not an extension of its predecessor released exactly a year ago (for the uninitiated, it’s called ‘To All The Boys: PS I Still Love You’) . The story flows organically, and while the creators have made some significant changes to the lives of their equally hilarious side characters, the bone of contention between the lovebirds remains at the center. Also, the subtext does drip with idealistic romanticism: pink and indigo cupcakes are a recurring motif, bright dresses and walls, grand gestures of love served as an attempt to appease gender loyalists, without making it feel like a can or key. Perhaps, director Michael Fimognari’s vision for this part was to pay homage to ’90s romance – the mention of the band Oasis is definitely an indication of that. Like LJ in the life of reels, Noah’s Peter would not have stuck in our memories had it not been for his charming portrayal of the character. In inexplicable ways, the on-screen couple reminds us of Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling from the cult classic ‘The Notebook’: cheesy but captivating, utopian but winning.
Catherine Ircha’s art direction and dynamic trio Richard Beech, Michael Jovanovski, and Renee Read’s beautiful set décor transport us to a time when larger-than-life romance was idolized. A minor hint (which you probably already know) is the depiction of New York City through the beaming eyes of a group of children ready to conquer the world. “I think I have fallen in love with New York,” LJ confesses to a friend. We know how.
The music for the film is by Joe Wong and while it adds a touch of love to the film overall, it is Leah Nobel’s ‘Beginning Middle End’ that stands out as the clear winner. Lorraine Carson deserves credit where it’s due: costumes! From matching rubber bands to flattering dresses and dresses in bright, emerging colors, Carson seems to have really sped up on this one and it infused it with an undeniably gorgeous rom-com feel. Perhaps, in a parallel world, we all live in perfect harmony wearing perfect dresses in perfectly painted houses.
To sum it up, from a script standpoint, ‘To All The Boys: Always and Forever’ scores low for originality and innovation, but some movies are all-hearted and evoke memories of the tenderness of days gone by. You know, that adventure that was more than an adventure but never materialized, the friend who melted into oblivion in a group of new friends, the lover who never called again, the high school sweetheart who left you for a text message … Ah, if only hearts could somersault!