Lara Jean’s other romantic interest, John Ambrose, was noticeably absent in the final To All the Boys movie, Always and Forever. Here’s why.
Netflix’s To All the Boys movies feature pretty much every rom-com trope out there, including the classic love triangle. This specific convention reared its head in 2020’s To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, in which protagonist Lara Jean Covey was reunited with her former crush John Ambrose McClaren at a time when she was beginning to question her relationship with Peter Kavinsky. However, despite his importance in that film, John Ambrose didn’t return for the To All the Boys trilogy finale, Always and Forever.
John Ambrose was introduced in Jenny Han’s 2015 novel P.S. I Still Love You before Jordan Burtchett portrayed him as a teenager in the post-credits scene for 2018’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before movie adaptation. The character was later recast when the film became a hit, leading Netflix to order a pair of sequels based on P.S. I Still Love You and the final entry in Han’s original book trilogy, 2017’s Always and Forever, Lara Jean. Jordan Fisher subsequently took over the role of the high school-aged John Ambrose in To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You.
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While there are a number of differences between To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You and its source material, John Ambrose more or less serves the same purpose in Lara Jean’s arc. In both the film version of P.S. I Still Love You and Han’s novel, Lara Jean reconnects with John Ambrose after he reveals he received the love letter she wrote to him, which was mailed to him without Lara Jean’s permission by her younger sister Kitty. The pair then bond over their shared history and similar interests, even as unexpected complications and issue arise in Lara Jean and Peter’s newfound romance.
Over time, though, Lara Jean comes to realize she’s more entranced with the image she’s formed in her head of who John Ambrose is, as opposed to who he is in real life. In a broader sense, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You and Han’s source material are similarly about how being in love with the idea of romance is not the same thing as being in a committed relationship with an actual person who has flaws and shortcomings. This is also the lesson Lara Jean learns over the course of the story, which leads to her parting ways with John Ambrose and agreeing to try and work with Peter on their problems as a couple.
To All the Boys: Always and Forever then picks up with Lara Jean and Peter as high school seniors, both of them having matured and grown as people since the early days of their relationship. Of course, with graduation looming over their heads, the pair are faced with a brand-new set of challenges, including whether they will be able to attend the same university or, if not, go their separate ways. Thing is, there’s not really a role for John Ambrose to play in that story, which is why he doesn’t appear in movie and is only briefly mentioned towards the end of Han’s original novel.
But besides making sense from a storytelling perspective, John Ambrose’s absence in To All the Boys: Always and Forever doesn’t require much (or, really, any) explanation in the movie’s universe. The only reason Lara Jean and John Ambrose met up in person in To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You is because they were both volunteering at Belleview Retirement Home at the time. With that no longer being the case, To All the Boys: Always and Forever is able to avoid mentioning Lara Jean’s other love interest without creating any major plot holes.
Based on the book by Jenny Han, adapted for screen by Katie Lovejoy and directed by Michael Fimognari, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: Always and Forever stars Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Anna Cathcart, Janel Parrish, Madeleine Arthur, Emilija Baranac, Ross Butler, John Corbett, Sarayu Rao and Trezzo Mahoro. The film is streaming now on Netflix.
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