Movie Review: Watch ‘The Half of It’

“The Half of It” is incredible representation of LGBTQIA+, immigrant, AAPI communities.



The details of this movie are what make it great. The dumplings Ellie’s dad makes her, the letters Ellie writes for Paul, the train station where Ellie lives and Paul’s family’s sausage company are all important pieces of this story.

MEGHAN HENRY, Evergreen managing editor

Netflix recently switched it up and placed an advertisement for a new throng of shows, movies and comedy collections that star Asian American and Pacific Islander actors and actresses.

When I saw the link come up on my account, I was so excited. And it was so timely.

When the majority of the non-minority world began to realize the extent of racism in our country this past year, many people read the books and watched the documentaries.

Our hearts sank as we began to realize the extent of institutional racism, and how far down this path America has walked.

But there were so few positive stories about minority groups being created, or at least shared. I remember that sad fact being talked about every now and then as a smaller issue.

When I finally saw “Just Mercy,” directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson, I began to understand what we were missing when we did not have positive representations of minority groups in movies and shows.

Whether a “good” or “bad” movie, the representation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in this collection is altogether good.

The telling of peoples’ life stories through a movie helps us connect and learn about their reality.

And I think it is beautiful that, during this time when the rest of the non-Asian and non-Pacific Islander world has been forced to recognize the racism, hatred and oppression of our Asian and Pacific Islander neighbors … we also get to be reminded of the reality of their lives.

We all experience the strangeness of middle school and the limbo of high school, just like Ellie Chu in the movie “The Half of It.” However, the AAPI community also experiences more racism, bullying and mistreatment from their classmates and teachers.

It is important that we realize the entirety of these stories and not just the pain or stereotypes. That is why it is so important for us to watch these movies and shows.

And it is important for huge companies like Netflix to place stories of minority groups on a bigger stage so that they get the recognition they deserve.

The movie, “The Half of It,” directed by Alice Wu, and starring Leah Lewis as Ellie Chu, Alexxis Lemire as Aster Flores and Daniel Diemer as Paul Munsky, covers a whole lifetime of memories from high school in 104 minutes.

There is so much to unpack – like any well-written romantic movie for teenagers that students our age will end up watching for the nostalgia.

Not to spoil anything, but “The Half of It” flips the script of the typical high school romance story in more ways than one: a love triangle where a girl and a guy like the same girl. The finality of characters deciding to go their own way to find out who they are.

I will not give away the whole plot, but in truth, this movie really does encompass everything.

The reality that figuring out your sexuality is daunting and oftentimes scary. The connections with small-town religion and social casts in school. How our home lives mold who we are and what we value.

It is all just right on the nose.

Most of all, I find it so perfect that these characters are seniors in high school, so they are trying to figure out what they want for their futures at the same time they are trying to decide who they are.

It feels so relatable that I wonder if I have really answered any of those questions in the four years I have spent outside of my hometown.

This movie draws you in. The characters’ experiences – whether you connect most with Ellie, Aster or Paul – parallel with some part of your high school days.

They helped me appreciate the depth of youth and made me feel known.

And as the credits rolled, I realized how absolutely invisible so many minorities would feel if movies that flipped the script did not exist. If there were no Asian, Latinx, immigrant or LGBTQIA+ main characters, nor actors to play them.

That realization made my heart hurt. And it also made me appreciate Wu’s directing work all the more.

This movie is incredible. It is all of our stories put into one. And most importantly, it is the story of so many under-represented groups made real.

If you want something good, real and representative of life, you should watch this movie.

Because in the end, nobody ends up where or with who they thought they would. In this movie, as in life, it turns out our dreams are our other halves, not another person.

Whether we were 16 or 21 or 45 or 79, we have all realized that for ourselves.

And that’s only the half of it.