The Half of It Film Review
Bringing justice to the sophisticated life of teenagers is something that “the half of it” can achieve. The touching story of Paul, Ellie, Aster is built in this story. Traditionally love stories that take place during high school strongly adhere to the cliche themes of atmosphere, style, and chemistry. But in this film the themes of honesty and the deepest human feel a longing to accomplish something; desire stands taller than the rest.
Rom-Com’s are supposed to be binary, comical but not much more than that. But this one feels so much deeper in enforcing the concepts of being bold in areas that are so much more meaningful than the high school crush.
The story set in “Squahamish” a sleepy town in the United States and follows the masterful Asian American; “Ellie Chu” who is a straight-A student who also runs a side business of earning money by writing essays for other students. Her ability to write is so masterful that her English teacher; well aware of the business lets it continue. Let’s just say reading about Plato’s analysis on from 6 different perspectives by one master is more interesting than hearing 5 perspectives from deplorable writers.
One day Ellie is approached by Paul. A nervous football player whose family runs a sausage factory. Paul wants Ellie to write a love letter to his favorite school crush Aster Flores; the most beautiful girl in the school. But as Ellie begins to write her attraction grows and soon enough Ellie falls for Aster and continues the thread of letters and. Aster triggers this by replying to Ellie’s beautiful letter with references from Wim Wender’s wings of desire. In short, Ellie’s commitment grows to help Paul communicate with Aster.
So, this story continues to grow as Paul and Ellie get more committed to the cause in wooing Aster by observing her habits and injecting great references of famous authors and art theory to show Aster an escape from the existing reality. As the story continues even Paul turns out to be more than a football player who is incapable of expressing himself, he turns out to be a figure who can take the bold step in expressing his love and as he can attract Aster. But things change in this journey. Even after Paul can woo Aster, Paul changes his mind and starts falling for his partner in crime without knowing she is a “queer”
The story ends in a triangle where Ellie likes Aster, Paul likes Ellie, and Aster likes Paul. But this depth of human connection feels so much more than plain duplicity as it becomes transcendental, where each individual’s dream of a better world is shown as a snapshot. Where the words of each person help each become so much more in a small town.
Justice is given to the sophisticated life of a teenager as the theme of being bold and taking the big step stands taller than the rest. The iconic quote of being bold boils down to a single scene in a church where Ellie describes love as “not finding your perfect half, its the trying and reaching and failing. Love is being willing to ruin your good painting for the chance at a great one. Is this really the boldest stroke you can make”
This climax shows the journey to achieving the goal isn’t about reaching the destination. It’s about taking that chance of making that stroke. In most stories one falls in love with the hero and the efforts they make to woo the heroine. In “The Half of It” one falls for the heroes in their sheer longing.