Review: The Half of It (2020) - USA
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
One of the beautiful thing about Netflix release of coming of age and rom-com film “The Half of It” directed by Alice Wu (“Saving Face”) is the simplicity yet subtle expression of love, thoughts and interactions on display. There is so much to like about this film from its well developed leading characters in Leah Lewis and Daniel Diemer, to the lovable High school beauty Alexxis Lemire and down to the casting of martial artist Colin Chou in a rare dramatic as the father of Ellie. Everything is set within the remote town of Squahamish where all the elements of repressed love, unrequited love and one sided love all played out to seemingly perfection.
Leah Lewis confidently takes on the leading role as the nerdy yet smart and talented Ellie. Staying true to aspect of Director Alice Wu’s own self discovery in her opening up as a lesbian, Lewis shows both indecisiveness as well as hesitation to pursue her love, preferring to take cover behind Daniel Diemer charmingly played in a warm hearted role as his love advisor. Newcomer Alexxis Lemire impresses as the beautiful and popular neighbourhood girl who everyone seems to love, hides a deeper story within her own thoughts and secrets. The scene with Lewis and Lemire in the spa pool was easily memorable. Colin Chou makes a rare appearance as the father with layers of regrets in his eyes for not fulfilling his own potential. Chou interactions with Lewis remains a highlight.
All in all, “The Half of It” succeeds in its execution, deeper storyline and ultimately affecting characters that matters. Director Alice Wu comes up with the goods in her second feature film since wonderful and authentic “Saving Face” more than a decade ago. With much more Asian American representation nowadays, Wu should be welcomed with many more opportunities to tell her unique stories to the masses. This is a good little heartfelt film with a story to tell.
I rated it 8.5/10
Streaming on Netflix.