The following contains spoilers for “The Half of It.”

The coming-of-age movie, “The Half of It”, released on Netflix on May 1. Directed by Alice Wu, the movie presented itself as a stereotypical teenage film except with an Asian-American lesbian as the lead. Audiences can feel refreshed seeing a diverse and relatable lead.

The plot follows as the main character, Ellie Chu, gets paid to write other students’ essays in order to help her father with everyday expenses. One day a boy named Paul requests that she write a love letter for him to the popular girl, Aster. After some convincing, Ellie begins to write a series of letters to Aster under Paul’s name.

The chemistry shared in the letters might make one believe the love story is between Aster and either Ellie or Paul. However, the real love story comes from the friendship that eventually blossoms between Ellie and Paul.

Questions about what love is pop up throughout the film. Quotes from different people show up on title cards to reflect different definitions. The different definitions help add to the theme of unconventional love as Ellie and Paul learn their own definitions.

Love is explored through Aster with self-love and boldness. Aster learns to better herself and accept who she truly is through art. She claims that bold artists add five strokes to  a good painting in order to make it great. She uses this advice in her real life by taking risks to learn what love means to her.

Continuing with character growth, two specific scenes that show Ellie’s development through parallels. In one scene, she and Paul watch a movie where a woman leaves on a train, a man chases after the moving train, and the woman cries. Ellie calls the couple “morons.” She believes they should move on.

The final scene of the movie shows Ellie leaving for college on a train, where Paul chases after her and she cries. Ellie learned from Paul how to care for someone else. They brought out the best in each other and encouraged each other to go out of their comfort zones. 

Leah Lewis, who plays Ellie, makes the film stand out. She does an excellent job portraying a young woman in the closet. In one scene, Lewis’ character almost outs herself and the actress does an amazing job portraying the fear of losing her only friend because of it.

Overall, “The Half of It” proves itself as a comforting and fresh teenage film. A wide diversity of audiences can enjoy this movie, as it displays its themes of loneliness, discovering yourself, and love.

The Hilights:

Movie: The Half of It

Starring: Leah Lewis, Alexxis Lemire, Daniel Diemer

Genre: Coming-of-Age Comedy

Available On: Netflix

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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