The Half of It exceeds expectations

Paul hands the first love letter to Ellie. Photo courtesy of

Released May 1, The Half of It is the newest edition to teen rom-coms. Written and directed by Alice Wu, this Netflix Original puts a fresh and modern twist to the traditional teen-romance movie formula.
This coming-of-age movie follows the story of Ellie Chu and her classmates. She lives in the small American town of Squahamish with her father working at the train station house. She is a straight-A student whose side hustle is writing other students’ papers. She is given an unusual request by the school football jock Paul, who hires Ellie to write a love letter to the popular girl Aster. As they try to win over Aster, Paul and Ellie develop a friendship neither of them expected. Things get complicated when Paul realizes that Ellie has fallen for Aster as well. *SPOILER ALERTS* Although their trust was broken for a while, they eventually make up and become friends again. Right before she gets on the train to leave for college, Ellie kisses Aster and says, “I’ll see you in a couple years” as she runs off.
This touching, non-traditional love story is unique in the sense that it’s not a happily ever after movie with closure. It’s unclear if Ellie will come back for Aster, or even back to Squahamish at all. The ending of this movie is what sets it apart from most, as it is very realistic to how love is and the dynamics of people involved. The characters in the movie are not one-dimensional either. Every character has depth and the viewer is given a background into their life and perspectives.
The acting in this film is beyond impressive. Ellie, played by Leah Lewis, fit her role amazingly. She was very natural and most of what she conveyed was unspoken.
The writing and directing of this movie stood out and it was obvious a lot of time and thought went into every detail of this movie. The scenes were tied together well and had a great flow. Another honorable thing about his movie is its inclusivity. It touches on many subjects that are not often talked about and it is done in a very tasteful way. The main character is gay and asain-american, and the love interst is Latina. Ellie’s father, a Chinese immigrant, had a PhD but could not get the job he came to America due to the language barrier.
All of these elements combined created for a moving film that was memorable and enjoyable. For these reasons, The Half of It gets a 9/10.