In this month full of love and so much more, Netflix releases To All the Boys: Always and Forever, the finale of the teenage romance trilogy. Adapted from the eponymous novel by Jenny Han, the movies revolve around Lana Condor’s Lara Jean – just in case you’re new to Lana’s world - whose life is thrown into massive chaos as the boys she has loved before receive the love letter she has been keeping to herself one after another.
If the previous two movies are about the scrambled feelings before stepping into a relationship and the unsure in love, To All the Boys: Always and Forever taps Lara’s discovery on her roots and future, as well as what she wants outside her relationship with Peter.
At the crossroad of adulthood, Lana is not afraid to venture into the unknown. "We leave her off in the third movie where she’s very much ready to step into the world," said Lana Condor, "You know, she’s gonna live in New York by herself! Lara Jean is just ready to leap and find herself and even more so than she already has."
With Girls’ Generation’s Gee as the opening song, the movie truly knows its way to the heart of a teenager (and someone who has been there). Our favourite pop culture references – from Oasis to Blackpink and Lauv – run throughout the movie, and whether you’re a sucker for coming of age romance or not, Always and Forever could be a pat on the back for the once clueless kid in you.
Micro spoiler alert: It hits even more differently for those who always have New York in their heart.
Why is this chapter so important for Lara Jean?
It was a very emotional and overwhelming ride to bring the very last instalment of this story to life. [thinks] I will say that I’m very very happy with the Lara Jean that we’re left off with. She finally feels like stepping into the world, making choices and taking chances for herself.
I think the baby Lara Jean in the first movie who wasn’t even comfortable making new friends and spent most of her time with her books, will be very proud of her. It’s cool to see her growing up in that way.
This is also the first time Lara Jean and her family go back to where her mom came from.
Yes! It’s beautiful to see Lara Jean and her family going back to where her mom came from. I think it really helps to sculpt her identity. After we wrapped in Korea, my family and I actually went to Vietnam for the first time – I’m adopted from Vietnam – to retrace my steps, and how my parents found my brother and I at the orphanage.
I can go on and on about ways I feel very connected and paralleled to Lara Jean, but what I think the most major one, is definitely that trip of self-discovery finding out where I’m from.
Where do you picture Lara Jean in ten years?
I love thinking about where she would be. We leave her off in the third movie where she’s very much ready to step into the world. You know, she’s gonna live in New York by herself! It takes a very specific person to live in New York by herself.
Lara Jean is just ready to leap and find herself and even more so than she already has. I hope that she is in publishing or some literature medium. [laughs] I hope that that’s her future and profession just because I know how much her life has spent just absolutely loving books, letters and writing – the best way she knows how to communicate.
I am very hopeful that Peter and Lara Jean will be the endgame. I just believe in my heart that they will be together and be each other’s person, Whether that means they might have to go on their separate ways to grow and learn, find themselves as individuals so they can come back to each other fully ready to start their life together.
If you can pick one song to be the opening title to your life, that you wake up to it every morning, what would it be?
OMG that’s the pressure! Sabrina Carpenter, she is a really wonderful actress and singer and she has this song called Exhale. It is just very calming and it reminds me to be still, to take a breath. I’m the type of person who can get overwhelmed very easily and forget to take a moment to take care of myself. In fact, I do wake up to this song quite often, so I think that’s probably the one I choose.
Tell us more about growing up with Lara Jean.
Well, I feel like we’re one. TATB is lifechanging, all the good and the bad have come together as a huge blessing. And I’m a huge fan of this chronicle, I love Lara Jean and I put so much of my heart into her simply because I believe in her and her story.
What Lara Jean has taught me, is not to wish my life away and grow up too fast. I think right now, in particular, I look at young people in middle school and I see them growing up so fast, like wishing they could just skip everything and become adults immediately.
I understand that with the influences of social media and everything, everyone is just trying to go really fast, but Lara Jean isn’t that way. She wants to take things slowly. I think she has this wonder in the ways she looks at the world, that she just wants to go day by day and not change herself or get rid of her little quirks. Also in terms of her relationship, like learning how to handle the topic of virginity which I feel is very tough these days.
I think that we need to have more actual conversations about virginity and sex, because it should be a conversation and it should feel right for you even when you’re ready for it. I really appreciate that Lara Jean has been so honest about what she feels comfortable with. The way she’s okay being a sixteen-year-old girl has taught me to live in the moment more and not to skip the great things.
Watch To All the Boys: Always and Forever now on netflix.com.