The Half of It earns excellent ratings

The Half of It earns excellent ratings

Netflix

Emily Tran, Feature Editor

In most love stories we get the average girl and a guy type of rom-com. But in this interesting new movie, written by Alice Wu, you will be shocked. Alice Wu’s new high school-set film, The Half of It, transcends the limitations that frequently serve as obstacles to ingenuity in young adult movies. By exploring issues of race and queerness with emotional complexity, it treats teenagers with the sophistication they deserve. 

Ellie Chu, Leah Lewis, is bright, perceptive, and pretty much on her own. Her small-town high school has its share of jocks, cool kids, nerds, and artsy types, but Ellie doesn’t hang with any group. She studies hard and feels very responsible for her dad. A widowed Chinese immigrant with a PhD, Mr. Chu, Collin Chou, speaks almost no English, and is barely earning a living. He and Ellie live above the train station he operates. 

To earn extra money, Ellie secretly writes school papers for other kids. Enter Paul Munsky, Daniel Diemer. “Munsky” is aware of Ellie’s writing enterprise and approaches her with $50 if Ellie will write one letter in his name to Aster Flores, Alexxis Lemire, the popular girl he’s in love with from afar. Reluctantly, Ellie agrees. 

What makes the prospect so hard, however, is that though she’s never acknowledged it, Ellie is definitely attracted to Aster. So, complications ensue, and what begins as a one-time, money-making proposition becomes a poignant and funny adventure in growing up for Ellie, and for Paul and Aster, too.

This movie shows a lot of independence and a number of other things that you could show your family and friends. Exploring friendship, love, and sexuality, as well as the hardships of a Chinese family’s integration in the US, this film is executed with integrity and heart. Lead actor Leah Lewis never misses a beat. Her sincerity, comic timing, and seeming effortlessness in bringing Ellie Chu to life is a joy to watch. She’s supported by an excellent cast.