The Half of It Poster

The Half of It (2020)

Comedy | Romance 
Rayting:   6.9/10
Country: USA
Language: English

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.

Director: Alice Wu Writer:

Stars: Leah Lewis, Daniel Diemer and Alexxis Lemire

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User Reviews

ellapiispan 1 May 2020

I'm in tears. I went into this movie expecting a lesbian love story after seeing the trailer. One might even say, the romances in the story were the least important. This is a love story, no doubt, but not what you would expect. It is a beautiful story about an unexpected friendship.

What I think the movie did especially well was that there was a really limited number of main characters and they had really put effort into creating the personalities for these characters. Usually characters like Aster (the beautiful love interest) are really vain and the viewer rarely gets to no them. The premise is also amazing in its simplicity - a senior year of high school in a small town.

Moreover, acting, directing, sound music was amazing. There is really nothing I would change. I kept trying to guess the plot subconsiously, but I never guessed right. I think the story wrapped up beautifully, maybe not in the traditional sense of happy ending but in its own way.

rannynm 30 April 2020

The Half of It is certainly a beautiful story about love, friendship and longing. It is a very relatable story about the process of discovering love and what comes with it. The acting is splendid and writer/director Alice Wu is very assertive in both capacities.

The story follows Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis), a shy and introverted, straight "A" student, in her senior year, helping a friend, Paul, to capture the attention of the girl of his dreams, Aster. Initially, Ellie writes just one letter, but the story evolves into an exchange of text messages before their first date. During the journey, the characters discover the truth of the stress and challenges of courtship.

The film starts with a beautiful, artsy animation and excellent voice over work, guiding us into the mysteries of love at a very young age. The Half of It is a very well narrated story, keeping you intrigued, making you wanting to know more about the characters and how they will end up. The editing and music are very interconnected and they work in perfect harmony, turning into amazing storytelling.

I enjoyed the acting and the honesty of Leah Lewis' portrayal of a very timid, but determined girl. I love Paul naiveté and his struggle to communicate and show his emotions and how his innocence contrasts with Ellie's intelligence. Despite their differences they become friends, which is one of my favorite aspects of the film. I also love Collin Chou who plays Ellie's dad. He barely speaks English but he's really funny. He portrays a very loving and kind man and wants what's best for his daughter. Ellie's Dad loves classic films and, throughout the movie, there are several references to art in different disciplines like painting and poetry. This makes the film feel very grounded. "The Best Part," as Ellie's Dad refers when interrupted when watching his cinema classics, is when Ellie and Aster are in a secret lake and just talking. The scene itself is beautiful and the acting feels so natural. I love how this scene is shot and found it really relaxing.

The Half of It is not the typical high school movie, because in almost every high school movie there is a popular girl, a shy nerdy girl with lots of clichés and no substance. But in this movie the characters are real, current and deep.

The message of this film is "be the best version of you." Ellie used to be an artist and one of the things she learns is that "you can have a good painting, but to make it a great one you need to make a bold stroke." I think what she means by "bold stroke" is the best version that you can possibly be of yourself. Also we hear that "love is the journey we pursue with determination."

This film is wonderful! I could watch it a million times and still be entertained. I give The Half of It 5 out of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 12 to 18.

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.

pierreolivier-21287 1 May 2020

This is a path to the understanding of what it means to love. That movie makes you think. It is well wrapped with tiny details that connects everything together. I must say there are a lot of crappy teenage highschool love movies on Netflix. But nothing like this one. I just wanted to relax and it made me emotional. I'm happy it did.

Just didn't get the last 10s. What's the secret meaning of it?

SanciR 2 May 2020

The Half of It is solid. Yeah, it's not perfect but it takes a trope that has become repetitive over the years and puts its own spin on it. I'm talking about that trope where a person who's probably popular likes someone, but has nothing in common with them or is just plain dumb, and so they have to ask the less popular character for help... and the plot usually progresses in the same way too; the love interest realizes that the popular character is not who they have been falling for all along and then chooses the less popular one in the end. It's pretty basic stuff that has been seen over and over and over again. And movies have tried to take a spin on it before; Sierra Burgess Is A Loser being one of the latests examples. But while Sierra Burgess failed, The Half of It succeeds at making that spin compelling, insightful and just straight up wholesome. Honestly it's a very difficult trope to fix, especially with the changing times, a lot of people are sick of the manipulation that can take place in these types of stories, not to mention the lying and scheming. And what I think The Half of It gets right is the understanding that what can make or break this trope are the characters, their dynamics and their motivations. And oh my goodness the two main characters in this movie are a delight. Yeah they make mistakes, but it's usually never out of a place of malice or selfishness. And I believe that the development of their friendship is what makes this story worth watching. This is not just a cliché teen romance. It's a movie that tries its best to capture the essence of being a teenager navigating friendship, love and life in general; and honestly, I think it does a pretty good job at it.

themadmovieman 1 May 2020

I'm really liking this recent trend of teen romances that take an insightful look at the nature of love. Following on from the likes of To All The Boys I've Loved Before, Every Day, and Love, Simon, The Half Of It is an earnest and perceptive high school romantic drama.

Saying that, however, it's nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is. While its focus on the nature of love is engrossing at times, the film regularly attempts to deconstruct romantic tropes, yet falls into the trap of using them itself.

And that's a real shame, because there are things about The Half Of It that are a real breath of fresh air in this genre. I love the way that it shies away from a generic story about the high school social ladder, and I absolutely love the lead performance by Leah Lewis.

But this film just doesn't hit home on the deeper level it really needs to. It undermines its often genuinely insightful perspective on love with either cheesy or predictable plot twists and narrative devices.

There are times when the film forges its own path a little more, particularly in a wonderful aside in the early third act where Lewis and her crush, played by Alexxis Lemire, spend time together. However, as a part of the film's overarching romantic narrative, it doesn't hit home quite as strongly.

That's why I found The Half Of It such a disappointing watch. It has some wonderful moments that should stand among the best in modern teen romances, while Leah Lewis' assured and charismatic yet strikingly vulnerable performance is enormously memorable.

But in the midst of a story that doesn't really work, and a perspective on love that's not quite as clever as it thinks it is, the film really doesn't have the resonance and insight it's aiming for.

bikramjeet-93194 1 May 2020

This is one of the best coming-of-age movies I have ever seen

eelen-seth 1 May 2020

Shy, straight-A student Ellie (Leah Lewis - Nancy Drew) is hired by sweet but inarticulate jock Paul (Daniel Diemer - Sacred Lies), who needs help winning over a popular girl. But their new and unlikely friendship gets complicated when Ellie discovers she has feelings for the same girl. You'd probably think, "oh, so this is another Netflix high school romcom, but they have a little gay love triangle".. Guess again!

The Half of It opens with an animated sequence, while Ellie tells us about longing for the other half of our soul-unity. This is all based on the beliefs of ancient Greece, but those guys obviously never went to high school. Ellie was born in China, but moved to remote, backwater town Squahamish (or as Ellie's English teacher likes to call it - "Hell-quamish"), where she's busy making some much-needed extra cash penning homework papers for her fellow high school students. Goofy jock Paul is so desperate to woo the undeniably beautiful Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire - The Art of Murder). The only problem is, he has no idea how to do so and Ellie reluctantly agrees to help him write love letters. Oh btw, this isn't a love story.

Through the use of social media notifications popping unannounced on screen, we get to understand the importance of literature in any way or form. This also becomes clear in the way director/writer Alice Wu incorporates legendary writer's quotes as title cards throughout the film. Oscar Wilde and Santre's life lessons are necessary elements in Ellie's coming of age story, which she also uses to connect with Aster. Not only through the means of repressed British literature and abstract art does she find a comfortable voice, but it also makes for some compellingly awkward situations in which she's basically an ear piece telling Paul when to make a move.

Wu really crafts a beautiful piece of visualised poetry with her newest film. Making a romantic film set at a high school, can easily become something sappy or overly cliché, but the director of Saving Face knows how to balance it all and keep it as raw as possible. Without ever pointing a finger at anyone's background or beliefs, she dares to open up the conversation on religion and existentialism.

Casting talent can make or break your film, and that's just why The Half of It works so well. Lewis carries this film with natural ease. Her voice is so important, since she basically narrates the entire story, but it's the emotion that comes with it that truly lifts up her own physical performance which has been presented very basic in contrast to the classic beauty of Lemire's character, Aster. Lemire doesn't really get a lot to do until about a quarter into the film, but then gets her own moments to shine and delve deeper in what at first seems like a picture perfect world. Male lead Paul, played by Daniel Diemer, looks the part, but because he's not your typical jock - dumb, self-centred, bully - he gets to grow as a character and show a vulnerable side you don't easily get to witness in this sort of protagonist. A talented and promising young cast is an understatement.

The Half of It deserves to be up there with indie coming of age films, such as 'The Edge of Seventeen' and 'Lady Bird'. Not only is Asian representation a necessity, the unforced LGBTQ+ story in the middle of it all is invigorating and from the heart. Like the movie states at the start, this was never supposed to be a love story - it's about friend

atheneachristielim 5 May 2020

As soon as I watched the trailer, I loved the idea of this film. The awkward journeys of self-discovery the characters embark on were really well executed by the actors. I also appreciate that the protagonist was a queer woman of color, which we don't get to see too often.

However, the dialogue alone bumped my rating down by at least three stars. A lot of it came across as an attempt to sound 'deep', which instead came off as pretentious and inauthentic. Other lines simply didn't sound like anything any teenager (or any person in general) would say. Think John Green but even worse.

Overall, a sweet film without the usual romantic element, but I just couldn't watch it without cringing at most of its lines.

ganesansujeetha 1 May 2020

Ellie, the brainier one, who can decipher every theory every emotions but has no idea what love is. May be because the one love she saw around her she didn't understand that. Inshort she was not looking in the right place. Paul, the soft bear, knows what he wants and is content with it. He understands love and even the many love he later comes to find about. He is the sweet guy any girl could fall for even if he is not into books or painting for that matter. Aster, the lost soul. She knows what she wants but is not courageous enough to go for it. Divine intervention as she wants was the final push she needed to go for that Bold Stroke. I will not compare this movie to "To all the boys" or to "Sierra Burgess". Because I believe this movie had more depth and less drama. I felt the dialogues were intense for a high school teen movie but thats what I liked the most about this movie. "Love is messy and horrible and selfish and ... Bold"

leondeklerk 2 May 2020

What an amazing film. So much heart from the main characters. It has been a long time since i have seen a movie which reminded me of what real love looks like. Love is messy. It is not perfect. But it is worth searching for. A great gem of a movie.

brycebensema87 3 May 2020

There way way too much and not enough in The Half of It, It seemed the writer had a checklist of points she wanted to make instead of a story she wanted to tell. There were some nice performances but they couldn't cover up the inconsistencies of the plot and characters. A number of funny, touching, truthful moments isn't enough to make up for the messy script. Maybe the book will spend more time on the Nazis

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