The Half-of-It Dearie Blues (Movie Thoughts: The Half Of It)

the-half-of-it-posterWhen I read the synopsis of Netflix’s ‘The Half of It,’ I uttered to myself, “ugh, another insipid variation of Cyranno de Bergerac,’ and I have to admit I went into the film with that bias. I find that these teen Netflix projects can be hit or miss. But I should have known that Alice Wu, the director would give us something unique. The film stars Leah Lewis as Ellen Chou (does Netflix only cast Asian actresses with Western names?) an intelligent teenager living in a small town in Middle America. She is so smart that her gig economy side job is to make term papers for her classmates. Enter Paul (Daniel Diemer) who hires Ellen to write letters for him, as he is enamoured with Aster (Alexxis Lemire)  Upon the course of this, Ellen gets a realization, that she is falling for Aster herself. Things get convoluted quite quickly – Paul starts to fall for Ellen, as Ellen gets deeper with Alexis, and is Alexis really responding back to Ellen? This is the kind of film you probably have to rewatch to get the small details you may have missed the first time around, but I thought Lewis and Diemer had fantastic chemistry and was kind of rooting for that. Aster is religious so I thought it would have been kind of impossible for her to respond to Ellen, but all this headiness i exhilarating. Not that this is the kind of movie that ties everything in the end properly, but the ending is satisfying and, above all things, realistic. If, like me, you had doubts going into this film, get over it and enjoy.

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