“In case you haven’t guessed: this is not a love story.”
That line is said somewhere along the start of Netflix’ new movie, The Half of It. And I was like “Yeah, sure”. The movie has everything a typical teen rom-com has: a love triangle, a jock, bullies, a pretty girl, a nerd and a supportive teacher. But no, it’s not a typical teen rom-com. Hear me out why.
Ellie Chu is a Chinese-American girl living with her Chinese dad in a small town in the US. She’s smart but doesn’t have a lot of money. That’s why she writes essays for students in her high school. Paul, not the brightest kid in school, asks Ellie to write a love letter to Aster, the girl he likes. But there’s one problem: Ellie likes the same girl.
The summary doesn’t do the movie very well. Ellie and Paul become friends and Paul even sticks up for her when she’s bullied. Aster, however, is in a relationship with the richest kid in school but she isn’t really happy. There’s so much more to the movie than the trailer or the official summary says there is.
The Half of It gives us a view of what life for immigrants can be like. It gives us a view of what life can be like if loves goes unanswered. The main themes in the movie are love, friendship, immigrants and LGBTQ. And while yes, love is the main theme of the movie, the movie doesn’t end like you’d think it would.
While watching the movie, I started thinking about how I would grade it. It started with an 8, decreased to a 7 but at the end, I decided to go for an 8. The ending was absolutely perfect. Let me explain why. (Spoilers ahead from this point!)
We’re watching an entire movie about love. You’d think either Paul or Ellie would end up with Aster. But it’s neither of them. While you’d think that’s a shitty way to end a movie: it isn’t. This movie teaches us that love can’t always give us what we want. It teaches us that we might have to wait a little longer. It teaches us that not all love can be answered. It teaches us everything that all those thousands of other love stories don’t. That is what makes this movie good.
The Half of It is now available on Netflix worldwide.