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“The Half Of It”: 8 Reasons To Watch The New Netflix Movie

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Netflix strikes one more success with the romance “The Half of It” (2020). The movie, written and directed by Alice Wu, is a coming-of-age story of Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis). As a straight-A student, Ellie writes all the other students’s essays and is paid in return. But things change when the jock Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) asks her to write something completely different: a love letter to his crush, Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire). While Ellie and Paul are unexpectedly becoming very close friends, in between the love notes, Ellie is also falling for Aster.  

But what is it that makes this movie so unmissable? Check out 8 reasons to go watch it right now!

The best clichés of a romantic comedy

The Half of It” is the kind of movie you see when you want to relax. It brings a heart-warming story with interesting characters to sustain it. It also gives a good rom-com vibe that is hard to not fall for, with cliches and all (american high school environment, love triangle, unlikely friendships, and more).

Lesbian director, producer and screenwriter: Alice Wu

The one thing that makes this movie unique is Alice Wu’s vision. As a lesbian daughter of Taiwan immigrants, Alice is passionate about creating films that portray Asian characters in its full depth, which includes their sexuality. We can see it in her other movie, “Saving Face” (2005), which was inspired by her own experience of coming out as a lesbian in the Chinese American community.

Now she was able to put her vision in practice in a different environment, with growing up teenagers. Even though “The Half of It” is a cute story about the coming-of-age of the protagonist, Alice does not stay blind to other social issues.

Asian American teen in lead role

We don’t always see representation when it comes to asian americans in lead roles, especially in teen entertainment. Alice Wu changes the ways by casting Leah Lewis as the protagonist, Ellie Chu. The 23 years old actress began her career as a child, and is best known for featuring the series “Nancy Drew”, from The CW. But with Ellie Chu we got to see even more of Leah’s talent, and this can be for sure a changing point in her career, tracing more and more successful paths. 

Queer representation

The movie deals with all the challenges of self-discovery in youth and does not dodge diverse sexuality as most movies. Throughout the story, we are able to see Ellie’s struggle to figure out what she is feeling for Aster and how she deals with it. Her feelings are what convince her to accept writing the letters for Paul, but they become conflicting as their friendship evolves. 

We can also see a few moments of conflict between religion and sexuality with Aster. Raised in a catholic family, she’s been told all her life who she is supposed to be with. It is interesting to see how she slowly tries let go of what was imposed on her and how she deals with her feelings. 

The way the story treats the sexuality is a thing to praise. Alice Wu makes sure that Ellie’s beliefs and feelings are not influenced by heteronormativity and stereotypes, portraying real life situations. In the entertainment industry we consume nowadays, “The Half of It” is a sigh of hope for the young LGBTQ+ generations who wants feel represented on TV.

Addresses immigration issues

The movie features some important scenes in which we get in touch with Edwin Chu (Collin Chou), Ellie’s widowed father. As an immigrant graduated engineer, he struggled to get hired in The United States because of his strong accent. In one scene with Paul, we get to know even more about Edwin’s experience as an immigrant father of a teenage girl (in a monologue in Mandarin). 

Non-stereotyped characters

In an american high school environment, it is difficult to build the story around something other than bad choices and people messing things up. What “The Half of It” does different is working with the high school stereotypes with actual depth and “good” main characters. 

As an example we can take Paul, the typical jock football player character, surrounded by friends. He had everything to be mean with Ellie, the typical “nerd” kind of character. But instead, he reveals himself as a loyal friend and a great company to have around, leaving the stereotypes aside.

Uncertainties of a soon-to-be adult

The main characters of the movie are all in their last year of high school, filled by insecurities and uncertainties about their future. So, at the same time, we see the growing of a friendship between Ellie and Paul and the romantic arc between them and Aster, we also follow their individual achievements, both professionally and personally. Is an authentic portrait of a moment of finding your own path. 

Just like real life

The Half of It” gives us the real deal. It is complicated, light, painfull, funny and messy, as real life is. Alice Wu made a beautiful relatable movie about three people who collide in a moment-in-time and are trying to figure out who they are. It is made for everyone, from ages 12 to all of the ages beyond!


The article above was edited by Helena Cardoso

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Karen Oliveira

Casper Libero '22

A curious mind always trying to learn something new. Karen is passionate about languages, music and culture. She is now studying Jornalism at Cásper Líbero in order to achieve her best self as a writer.
Giovanna Pascucci

Casper Libero '22

Estudante de Relações Públicas na Faculdade Cásper Líbero que ama animais e falar sobre séries.