The “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” trilogy came to an end with the Feb. 12 release of “To All the Boys: Always and Forever.” Though I was initially unsatisfied with the ending, I have since shifted my perspective to supporting Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship surviving.
At the end of the film, the main couple, Lara Jean Song Covey and Peter Kavinsky, decide to attend different schools – NYU and Stanford, respectively. Instead of breaking up, they decide to try long-distance.
A lot of couples do try the long-distance thing, so at least it’s realistic. A 2011 study by the Journal of College Counseling found 75% of college students have been in a long-distance relationship.
I was irritated by the ending of the series at first because it resembled the second film so much; the plot of that movie left me feeling unfulfilled.
In “P.S. I Still Love You,” Lara Jean breaks up with Peter after seeing a photo of him with his ex-girlfriend without knowing the context for the situation. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for Lara Jean to explore a relationship with her former crush John Ambrose. It seemed like she was looking for every excuse to get out of a relationship with Peter. Instead, Lara Jean and Peter prevail after Lara Jean realizes she just misunderstood why Peter was with his ex-girlfriend.
“Miscommunication drove the plot,” IU freshman Mya Ball said. “Honestly, this whole problem could be solved in .5 seconds if you all would just send that text or say that one sentence to clear everything up.”
So, initially, I didn’t like the ending to the series because it was the same story as the second – Lara Jean and Peter misunderstand what the other means or wants, but they make up.
But, after rethinking, I realized how wonderful these two people are together.
I tend to think that the only great films are the ones that shock us and give us twist endings. Some of the greatest films, though, are the ones that give us the right ending, regardless of whether that ending is predictable.
Lara Jean and Peter deserved the right ending, and the right ending was them being together. As I look back at the series, watching their comfort with one another grow was a real treat.
Another aspect of this series that has always drawn me in is the fact that it doesn’t revolve around a white character – something Ball admired and identified with.
Ball, who is Filipino-American, said she has struggled to connect with her roots in the past. She said the scene in the third film where Lara Jean is video chatting with Peter about not knowing enough about her Korean heritage resonated with her. It’s something she has personally had to deal with, and it’s something she feels bad about, much like Lara Jean.
“I’ve been really struggling with that because there’s a whole other part of me that I don’t even know the culture of,” Ball said. “I don’t know Tagalog, which is the Flilipino language. I’m actually starting to learn it, but I understand how that feels.”
The representation of Asian Americans is something that made Ball feel connected to Lara Jean, she said.
“That’s why I love the Asian representation and having an Asian main character,” Ball said. “You don’t see those topics in normal high school movies because it’s usually heavily white.”