The Half of It is a new coming-of-age movie on Netflix about an introverted girl who helps a football player write love letters to his crush and the love story goes awry.
Warning: While I like to keep my reviews as spoiler-free as possible, this one will contain spoilers. They will be in a specific section and labeled as spoilers.
Elli Chu is a hardworking but friendless student who is best known in school for writing people’s papers for money and doing the duties of her widowed father’s job at the train station. She is approached by the football player Paul Munsky who wants her to help write love letters to his crush, Aster Flores. It starts off as one letter then goes on to full conversations when things go awry and everything gets complicated.
The film is basically Cyrano de Bergerac goes to a remote town’s high school and also becomes a queer love story. It is definitely quirky in a very charming way. The three main characters feel very genuine and you can see how this love story plays out through the film thanks to their excellent acting.
SPOILERS BEGIN HERE. HOVER TO REVEAL.
My overall favorite part of the film is watching Paul fall for Ellie. It is a slow build and we see it progress through how Paul starts to change and act with Ellie. And even though Ellie rejects him as a romantic interest because Elli really loves Aster, it’s still my favorite of the love stories.
I also like how, at the end of it all, no one is together. Instead, they are all pursuing bigger opportunities and remain close in various ways. Paul gets to grow the sausage business, Aster applies for art school, and Ellie goes to college. Yes Ellie kisses Aster and they have a budding relationship, but they go off on their own pursuits. And Paul and Ellie remain friends, which is also really important in a depiction of rejection. It is a happily ever after ending in a whole different way.
SPOILERS END HERE
One thing that was a little off for me was some parts of the film felt a little jumpy. We would go from one moment then jump to the next without a clear thread of how the first one resolved or connected to the latter. I feel like this is a cutting room floor issue and the filmmakers had to make some tough decisions to cut scenes for time.
Overall, I really enjoyed this quirky coming-of-age film. It felt believable, highlighted queer love, and resolves in an unexpected but very fitting way. If you enjoy coming-of-age stories, you should watch The Half of It.
What is your favorite coming-of-age film? Let me know with a comment below.