Thursday, May 14, 2020

Review: The Half of It

Release date: May 1, 2020
Running time: 104 minutes
Starring: Leah Lewis, Alexxis Lemire, Daniel Diemer

The Half of It is a new teenage love story drama with a modern twist.  Shy, straight-A student Ellie (Lewis) is hired by sweet but inarticulate jock Paul (Diemer), who needs help winning over a popular girl named Aster (Lemire). But their new and unlikely friendship gets complicated when Ellie discovers she has feelings for the same girl.  Ellie continues to woo Aster, in the guise of Paul, but finds out a lot about herself and Paul in the process.

The Half of It, as a different, complicated love story and is also a different and complicated film to review.  There is a lot to like about the film.  The characters are quirky, and extreme in their own rights.  Ellie is brilliant, driven, and unemotional; kind of the ultimate Asian stereotype.  And Paul is sweet, athletic, and kind of an idiot; your ultimate Jock stereotype.  You would think that this type of stereotypical character development would be offensive but it generally is not.  The characters work in an odd couple kind of way and the film meshes their very different personalities well.  And through these extremes the movie is able to develop some insights into relationships and love.

However, the film has a really great build up, but delves into ridiculousness after the first big reveal.  Some of the plot points are too conveniently put in; and other times characters make ridiculous choices.  And I really did not like a scene at the end that might have been fine in a movie 15 years ago, but felt a little aggressive in today's climate.  And Paul seems to be so insanely dense, but then develops insights at far too convenient times.  But that doesn't mean this movie should be ignored.  It is nice to have a blunt, strong female character who is both so sure and completely clueless about herself.  Seeing Ellie develop is fun to watch, and the film does have some genuinely fun characters and situations. 

The Half of It's enjoyable characters and interactions power you through a complicated, convenient plot in this unconventional love story.

Rent it.

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