Words by Emily Hyatt
Over the past five years, Netflix has continued to push out rom-coms for the younger generation. With the repetitiveness of its tropes, beautiful actors and pop anthems, it can become tiresome. But, with The Half of It, Netflix hit the mark for its Romance genre.
The Half of It is a coming-of-age drama that revolves around Ellie, who is the only Lesbian and Chinese girl in her town. Typically, she spends her days alone operating the railway tracks or writing her classmates’ assignments, until she gets appointed the task of writing modern-day love letters for her classmate, Paul so that the popular queen, Aster would go out with him. The only problem is that Ellie has a crush on her too.
Firstly, this film beats every other coming of age Netflix romcom because it doesn’t follow the usual trope. Usually, the protagonist falls in love with their male classmate as they grow closer and then they end up getting together by the end. In this film, Ellie’s sexuality transforms the situation, which results in Paul questioning his twisted beliefs and Aster questioning her future life choices. All three characters live in a bubble where they have expectations thrust upon them, but all they want to do is live and love without judgement. In the end, things are left on positive notes with all characters and the best part is that nobody is forced into a relationship in the end. Instead, these characters end the film on a journey where they can find themselves, without the judgement of their close-minded town.
Another aspect that I enjoy about the film is that it does not focus on trauma. Usually, in a lot of films and TV shows, gay characters face extreme physical violence and verbal abuse because of their sexuality, which darkens the audience’s experience. Mainly, this would be shown with the protagonist’s relationship with their family. The Half of It deviates from this and instead, shows the challenges of having a single parent whose first language is not English. The audience witnesses Ellie having to grow up and shrink her dreams because of her Dad’s dependency on her. But, as the film progresses both characters flourish. In general, Ellie’s experiences fall on the lower end of the explicit spectrum, which lightens the experience of the audience whilst presenting the reality of homophobia and racism.
The Half of It presents the complexity and tenderness of the love between Aster and Ellie. Even though their love is mostly unrequited in the film, through the love letters, texts and even the time they spend together, both characters fall in love with one another. Throughout the film, both characters compare love to a painting. They know that with one brush stroke, a very good painting can end up astonishing or alarming. Ellie reflects this with her love for Aster. She knows that their friendship is good, but knowing that she never took the risk of creating an amazing moment defeats her. Altogether, the film’s writing is extremely exceptional and ties perfectly with the characters.
If you want a light, beautiful and alternative film experience, then I would definitely recommend you watch The Half of It. It’s the perfect film to watch with loved ones.
Picture Credits: IMDB