On February 12, 2020, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You premiered on Netflix. Yes, that was last year. Valentine’s Day 2020 came just one month before COVID-19 confined us to our homes or forced us to risk our lives to earn money at jobs deemed essential. And on February 12, 2021, one year and a traumatic pandemic later, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: Always and Forever, the third film in the trilogy, premiered on Netflix. We pick up where we left off with P.S. I Still Love You, but as we’ve established, it’s been a long year. So, let’s recap what exactly happened in that movie.
Lara Jean and Peter have their first date
The movie opens with the newly official couple going out for their first fancy date. Lara Jean admits it’s actually her first date ever. “I’ve never been a girlfriend before,” she says. “I hope I’m good at it.” Later, they make wishes on lanterns and send them into the sky. They promise not to break each other’s hearts as they write their initials on the lantern.
“How was your first date?” Peter asks Lara Jean as he walks her home. “It was…perfect,” she responds.
Lara Jean and Kitty celebrate Korean New Year and Lara Jean gets a surprise.
At their family’s Korean New Year celebration, Kitty tells their goth cousin Haven about Lara Jean’s attractive boyfriend. “Dude, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but I saw a video of him and some girl doing it in a hot tub,” Haven responds. Lara Jean informs Haven that actually, that was her and Peter on their school ski trip. “That’s…cool, actually,” Haven concedes.
When the girls get back from the party, Lara Jean finds a response from John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Fisher)—her sixth-grade crush who received one Lara Jean’s letters from the first movie. Lara Jean thought he never got it. In his letter, John Ambrose remembers going to the treehouse with Lara Jean after school and asks why she waited so long to send her letter. She tries to respond to him, but she can’t think of what to say. She shoves the letter ino her desk drawer. “Do I have to tell Peter about this?” she wonders.
At school, she decides to tell Peter about the letter she received from John Ambrose. He wonders if she’s asking for his permission. “No, I just thought it was gonna be strange if I didn’t tell you,” she responds. The awkward moment passes after a kiss.
Lara Jean signs up to volunteer at a senior facility.
Lara Jean follows in the footsteps of her older sister, Margot, and signs up to volunteer at Bellevue Retirement Home, while Peter decides to volunteer with his friends at Oakwood. During the volunteer event, Lara Jean runs into Peter’s ex, Gen, who makes her feel insecure. Gen adds that the restaurant Peter took her to on their first date is a favorite he always took her to. “For every first I was having with Peter, he’d already had…with her,” Lara Jean says in the voiceover.
But she soon forgets her fears once they go on a dream date at a carnival. “One moment things are upside down, but then, like magic, there’s glitter everywhere. And then once it all settles, you’re right back in the fairytale again,” she says.
Meanwhile, Kitty, who has since moved on from meddling in Lara Jean’s love life, begins to think her dad (John Corbett) should get together with the neighbor across the street, Trina (Sarayu Blue).
Once she arrives at Bellevue, Lara Jean meets her sister’s favorite resident, a vibrant woman named Stormy (Holland Taylor), and reunites with John Ambrose. John Ambrose says he promises to bring Lara Jean the letter she wrote him five years ago so she can read it and remember its contents. He has one condition: She has to give it back to him.
Lara Jean is let down on Valentine’s Day.
Lara Jean decorates a Valentine for Peter while Kitty makes a Valentine for Trina, which she addresses from their father.
At school, Lara Jean remembers that, the year before, Peter had special a capella groups serenade Gen all day, and she figures he’ll do the same for her. But no serenades come for her. She’s also down about Peter’s “fan club,” the soccer girls who stuff his locker full of Valentines. Her spirits lift later, when Peter gifts her a silver heart necklace and reads her two verses of an Edgar Allen Poe poem. Lara Jean thinks Peter wrote it himself.
Lara Jean and John Ambrose become close again.
Lara Jean reads the letter she wrote John Ambrose when she was 11. In the letter, she recalls going to a Halloween party dressed up as French Toast. She said she felt “lame” until John “walked in as a deviled egg.” She feels embarrassed about what she wrote. Stormy coaches her through it. “I think it’s exciting. You predicted you’d meet again, and here you are.” She tells her stories about her own life and tries to make Lara Jean feel better about hers.
Stormy also breaks it to Laura Jean that the poem Peter read to her was “Annabel Lee,” by Poe, with Lara Jean’s name subbed in. Lara Jean gets anxious again about the life Peter had with Gen. Lara Jean confronts Peter about the poem, and he says he wishes he’d written it, but says “even if I didn’t write it, that’s still how I feel about you, beautiful Lara Jean.”
Lara Jean and John Ambrose plan a sentimental gathering, which gets under Peter’s skin
Lara Jean and John Ambrose decide to plan the “Star Ball” for the seniors at the center after they find piles of discarded decorations in the basement of the center.
Despite all the time they spend together, Lara Jean doesn’t tell John Ambrose that she’s dating Peter. They decide to have a gathering of all their middle school friends, where they plan to uncover the time capsule they buried at their old treehouse hangout.
During the party, Peter gets jealous of John Ambrose, especially when he sees Lara Jean asked John Ambrose to bring the pizza. Peter tries to make John Ambrose uneasy by bringing up his middle-school stutter, and John Ambrose learns that Peter and Lara Jean are dating. The tension grows palpable.
As the Covey family gets ready for their traditional March Thanksgiving, Lara Jean’s dad runs into Trina at the grocery store and invites her over for dinner.
Lara Jean tries to be a supportive girlfriend but learns some information that upsets her.
Lara Jean patches things up with John Ambrose, who was still upset that he didn’t know about her and Peter. Then, she dresses up in a jersey and bows (football-girlfriend tradition) and heads to the football game to support Peter. At the game, her friend Chris shows her a photo of Peter and his ex, Gen, embracing, which makes Lara Jean realize that Peter and Gen are closer than she thought. The night Lara Jean and Peter first kissed on the school ski trip, Peter was on his way to meet Gen at the hot tub, Peter confirms. Lara Jean breaks up with Peter.
On their aquarium field trip, Lara Jean asks Peter if he wants his silver heart necklace back. He takes it off her neck in front of a dramatic backdrop: the jellyfish exhibit.
But Gen tells her the real truth.
An upset Lara Jean meets Gen at the treehouse. Gen tells her that she only sees Peter as a support for her, because her parents are breaking up and he’s been through something similar. Gen reassures Lara Jean that she is the only one on Peter’s mind. The girls admit that they’d both put their friendship bracelets in the time capsule back in middle school. Lara Jean says she realizes that she and Jen have “jung,” a Korean word meaning they have a connection that will never be severed.
Lara Jean and John Ambrose volunteer at the Star Ball together, where Lara Jean gets a wake-up call about her love life.
On the night of the Star Ball, Stormy gifts Lara Jean an old dress of hers to wear. Lara Jean, still confused about her feelings for John Ambrose, shares a dance with him. John Ambrose reveals that he tried to ask Lara Jean to the sixth-grade dance but he got nervous and went home. Lara Jean tells John that she and Peter have broken up, and they go outside to get some air.
They have a snowball fight, make snow angels, and share a kiss in the falling snow. She realizes she doesn’t have feelings for John Ambrose anymore and leaves him standing outside. Stormy comes to comfort Lara Jean, who admits she wanted John “to be someone else” when she kissed him.
“Sometimes you have to kiss the wrong man to know what’s right,” Stormy reasons.
And we get a happily ever after—to be continued!
Lara Jean runs off to find Peter, but he’s waiting for her outside in the snow. He says he remembers she doesn’t like driving in the snow, and he’s there to pick her up. They tell each other they love each other and kiss passionately.
Lara Jean realizes this real-life fairytale is better than the one she’d made up in her head. “I thought I wanted a promise that Peter and I would never hurt each other,” she says. “I wanted something that doesn’t exist. I wanted happily ever after. But I know now that I don’t want to love in half measures. I want it all. And to have it tall, you have to risk it all.” Such is the life of a hopeless romantic!
In the next film, Lara Jean is preparing for college, but something says she won’t be any less starry-eyed about what the future holds.
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