'The Half of It' is a coming-of-age drama by Alice Wu, released 16 years after her first hit movie – 'Saving Face.' The opening narration starts with how Greeks find their soulmates. From this originates the belief that people are born into this world as two-faced creatures and are separated by god, eventually spending the rest of their lives trying to find their soulmates.
The story revolves around three main characters in the town of Squahamish - Ellie Chu, a smart Asian teen who earns money for her college funds by writing student essays, Paul Munsky, a sweet jock who is not keen on following the jock cliché, as he wants to make his own twist to his family's sausage recipe and Aster Flores, a preacher's daughter, whose parents desperately want her to marry her wealthy boyfriend.
As the movie progresses, Paul approaches Ellie to write a love letter for Aster, the girl he has a crush on. After being persuaded, she agrees to write one letter, eventually finding herself falling in love with Aster. The one-letter agreement soon develops into a series of letters and messages between Ellie and Aster, who thinks Paul to be the writer of those letters. The unexpected twist that the story offers to the Cyrano de Bergerac formula is astonishing.
Honestly, it is quite refreshing to see a film that follows a similar pattern to that of a love triangle yet has a pretty twist to it, making the story heart-warming. One of the best parts of the film is the friendship between Ellie and Paul. Even though their friendship is forced under various circumstances, it turns out great. Fortunately, this film is not ridden with cliches. The soft camera lighting plays a significant part in describing the town and the townsfolk's characteristics.
This movie stands out for uniquely portraying teen angst and celebrating queer relationships in the right spirit. The fact that this movie has Asian and Latina leads without stereotyping their roles is commendable. This movie tackles race, religion, class, sexuality, identity, friendship, and love seamlessly.