BOTTOM LINE: The Last Half Is Excellent, The Rest Is Boring
|Platform: Netflix||Genre: Comedy, Romance|
What Is the Story About?
Elle Chu (Leah Lewis) is a hardworking, intelligent, but a friendless student. Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) is a sincere but dumb guy who always has the right intentions. Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire) is the beautiful girl that everyone wants to be part of their group. No one cares what she wants.
What happens when Paul Munsky falls in love with Aster Flores and asks Elle Chu for help is what the movie is all about?
Leah Lewis delivers a believable and instantly relatable performance. It is a challenging part for a young actor. There is no over action in her role at all. And most of the emotions are understated (because of shyness) and not oversimplified (there is a lot of philosophical musings). Yet she manages to bring the connection out. A lot depends on the direction and writing too, but she has to deliver the act nonetheless.
Alice Wu directs The Half of It after a long gap of a decade and a half. The story is a simple and predictable one. It is the characters and their unique behaviour and emotions that make the movie engaging.
The opening of the movie where through the voice over, we hear about the ‘other-half’ is excellent. It sets up the story perfectly. It instantly involves in the narrative, also generates an amazing feel.
The location, town of Squahamish, and its conservative and orthodox people with a church at its background add to the intrigue. But, as soon as we get into the life of Elle Chu, the entire effort of the opening, the setting of the premise seems like going down the drain.
The slow pace and mundane life bores, and the snail pace movement compound the impact. If one misses out the various character intros during this stage, it would further hinder the viewing impression as we go ahead.
Luckily, things start to finally get back on track with the growing relationship between Chu and Munsky. It is here that we get involved in the proceedings, after the opening. Once, that happens, the rest of the narrative is steadily moving with lovely emotional and understated emotional sequences, throughout. However, nowhere does it get to a fantastic level.
It is only when we get into the final half an hour that the slow momentum built until then develops into a force that can’t be ignored or pushed aside. The emotions come out beautifully in the love triangle. It is during these segments that he various characters of the world created by the director chip in to deliver a solid punch.
The entire narrative, as a result, of the constantly and painstakingly built proceedings, comes alive during the church sequence. There is nothing out of ordinary happening, but it is terrific within the world created by the Alice Vu.
There is also a Bollywood connection to the narrative which comes across as a dig initially. However, the way it is connected to the ending makes The Half of It one of the best movies to use the same.
Overall, despite a lazily paced narration The Half of It has a lot going for it. The momentum picks only mid-way and ends with a bang. Do give it a try if you love ‘love stories’ and are not bothered about the pace.
Daniel Diemer and Alexxis Lemire are the two other fully developed roles apart from the lead. They have equal importance and both deliver. Daniel Diemer brings innocence which is essential for the whole thing to work. Alexxis adds the magical element. The textual conversations related to her part are what we are talking about here.
Apart from these three, the other one to register is Collin Chau playing the father of Elli Chau. The rest of the actors do the required appearing briefly.
Music and Other Departments?
The music by Anton Sanko is excellent. It adds to the mood of the movie. The cinematography by Greta Zozula is neat. It helps in not only establishing the small-town feel of the location but also enhances the appeal of the BGM. The editing by Ian Blume and Lee Percy could have been better.
Final Half an Hour
Three Leads Of Triangular Love Story
Too Lazily Paced
Boring Parts Initially
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Review by Siddartha Toleti
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