Netflix’s new original movie, ‘The Half Of It’, takes a different but subtle angle on humanity’s conquest to simplify love in the eyes of teenagers who are all trying to make sense of life and also how love plays a large role in their individuality.
In the beginning, the main character, Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) narrates and describes her life in an articulate and opinionated way. The animation in the introduction is a good touch. It shows the viewers a vague idea of what the title means and educates them with a part of mythology and then later it is revealed that she is writing an essay for her side business that involves doing her classmate’s papers in exchange of money.
As we are taken into a trip to this town, we can honestly say it is aesthetically pleasing. The normal and indifference of one’s teenage life through high school. Then there’s Paul Munsky, a character played by Daniel Diemer, a football player who glides through the social hierarchy and has his fair share of high school privilege.
The thing about ‘The Half Of It’ is, it strays away from the usual teenage flick where there are jocks, nerds, and high school petty politics. Paul is in love with a beautiful woman Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire), he then asks Ellie to write a letter to him. If you watch too many movies, you know well enough that these things always end up in a love triangle where one is bound to fall in love with the other, leaving the last one with a broken heart. Not this movie.
Although hesitant, Ellie yields. She writes the first one and then the next and then it went on. The letters show that Aster and Ellie share an unusual but special take on life; they understand each other on deeper and more intellectual levels that Paul would not get. Still, she made sure Paul would win Aster over, making an effort to teach him everything he needs to know.
This is the best part. This is an emotional journey and the way the friendship between Paul and Ellie blossoms is the great takeaway in ‘The Half of It’. She never opens up; she has this sad back-story of her mother dying and her father falling deep into dysfunctional tendencies. She is alone and unsure but Paul makes an effort to know her, to see more than what she usually shows. Their friendship is everything. A definition of love.
The Alice Wu direct may have given us different attempts to define it but in all, it shows us that friendship is itself a form of love. Bold strokes. I love the foreshadowing of the ending in the earlier part of the movie. Ellie and Paul are watching a scene from a film where a man is running with the train for a sad woman. Ellie thinks the man is a ‘moron’ for trying since he will never catch up the train but Paul argues that the woman is sad about it, she proceeds on saying that she is a moron too, for reasons that brought her to the position.
As Ellie leaves for college, Paul bids goodbye and runs with the train as she leaves. He is laughing and so does she, also crying. It is the biggest metaphor in the movie, how we are all morons with our own flaws and shortcomings, ending up in situations we would rather not be. Yet, we find ourselves growing, changing into better versions of who we are because of the consequences we take responsibility for. It is all the other half of it.
If you’ve also watched ‘The Half Of It’, I’ll like to know your opinion about the movie, please leave a comment.