Directed by: Alice Wu
Starring: Leah Lewis, Daniel Diemer, Alexxis Lemire, Enrique Murciano, Wolfgang Novogratz, Catherine Curtin, Becky Ann Baker, Collin Chou
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance
Release Date: May 1, 2020
Running Time: 104 Minutes
Original Network: Netflix
When smart but cash-strapped teen Ellie Chu agrees to write a love letter for a jock, she doesn’t expect to become his friend – or fall for his crush.
The Half of It is an American coming-of-age dramedy, written and directed by Alice Wu. It stars Leah Lewis, Daniel Diemer, Alexxis Lemire, and Collin Chou. Netflix released the film on May 1, 2020 to positive reviews. The film received the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival.
The Half Of It: Netflix Movie Trailer
The Half Of It: Movie Review
We’ve been there before, several times, the world of high school jocks and sophomore years. The lanes cohabited by the ‘it’ crowd, the cash strapped but smart students, and a few love triangles. So when in the latest offering by Netflix, The Half Of It, we are pitched in a story where a regular teen girl agrees to write letters for a male friend to woo his lady crush, little does she expect to become his friend. But little does the audience expect that she’d fall for his crush!
Not a spoiler considering it’s the powerful dialogues and emotions put in words that take the story further. Basically ghost letters (written for fifty dollars a letter) that talk about exploring love, longing to be somebody, fitting in and complex emotions, we’ve all battled at some point. The teenagers have been given the treatment that often lacks in teen dramas.
Do you feel drawn in enough to feel the connect between two girls, who exchange letters via a guy who wants to have fries and shake and wants to hang out? Oh yes. By the way, he wants to dip the fries in his milkshake and thinks, “that’s actually very tasty.” Leah Lewis (playing Ellie Chu) fits into her character like a dream, though often reminding us of other half-Asian-American characters in teenage dramas.
In the entire screen time set in a simple small town of Squahamish, you’ll only come out a few phrases richer. “If you ask me people spend far too much time looking for someone to complete them; how many people find perfect love? Or if they do, make it last?” But what starts as a layered plot with dialogues and references from the immortal Oscar Wilde to the German playwright Wim Wenders, the movie has a rather rushed ending, especially for the protagonist Chu. Some existential questions are explored at least, if not addressed completely, and at a run-time of one hour and forty-five minutes, when every day is a weekend, it’s not such a deal-breaker.