Filmmaker Alice Wu returns with ‘The Half of It,’ a funny and heartfelt teen drama from the Tribeca Film Festival

Filmmaker Alice Wu delivers a standout sophomore with The Half of It, a heartfelt teen drama


Netflix audiences continue to discover The Half of It, a funny and heartfelt teen drama from filmmaker Alice Wu.

There are pre-Corona trends that have been accelerated by the spread of COVID-19. One of these trends is the growing number of moviegoers choosing to stay at home and stream movies versus going to cinemas.

Movie exhibitors await city governments to confirm reopening details regarding timelines, capacity restrictions, and second-half film release schedules. While movie fans anticipate reopening dates, content platforms for at-home streams continue to be the choice for new film releases.

These are troubled times for exhibitors and producers.  One slim, silver lining is indie movies’ opportunity to enjoy wide-release content platforms for at-home streams.

Netflix audiences continue to discover The Half of It, a funny and heartfelt teen drama from filmmaker Alice Wu. Winner of The Founders Award for Best U.S. Narrative Feature at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, The Half of It arrives some 16 years since Wu’s standout drama Saving Face. That’s too long a wait for new work from a storyteller as talented as Wu. However, The Half of It more than delivers. 

Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) is a book smart, but shy, Chinese-American teen helping her single dad at home and Paul (Daniel Diemer), the school jock. Ellie makes a skilled Cyrano de Bergerac as the composer of Paul’s love letters to Aster (Alexxis Lemire),  the prettiest girl in their senior class.

The challenge for Ellie is that she’s also head over heels for Aster.

Wu refreshes John Hughes-friendly, teen storylines with contemporary characters, smart dialogue, and a unique backdrop in rural Canada. There’s not a false beat in the entire movie.

Leah Lewis appears in just about every scene, and she carries the movie admirably. Daniel Diemer and Alexxis Lemire deliver some welcome surprises as Ellie’s unexpected love interests. 

Lewis, Diemer, and Lemire make a standout trio of smart, movie teens equal to the work of any Breakfast Club alum. Wu gives them a fun story and script. Their collaboration is so good, I’m thinking about a sequel.

Check out The Half of It via Netflix.

We Are One is a 10-day digital film festival featuring programming from over 20 festivals, including the Berlin International Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival.

Streaming through June 7, 2020, the We Are One festival hits all the essential festival benchmarks from indie features and shorts to artist interviews and performances. 

The We Are One festival pledges to donate to the World Health Organization (WHO) and local relief partners, helping communities impacted by the spread of COVID-19.

Go to the We Are One festival website or YouTube channel to experience the We Are One programming.

Shirley director Josephine Decker makes the most of actress Elisabeth Moss as famed horror author Shirley Jackson. Shirley tells the story of a young couple, Fred (Logan Lerman) and Rose (Odessa Young), who move into the Vermont house Jackson shares with her college professor husband (Michael Stuhlbarg). Before long, Rose discovers that she’s becoming source material for Jackson’s next horror story. 

Shirley, the winner of a Special Jury Prize for Auteur Filmmaking at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival,  is available for streaming on Hulu, Amazon, and other content platforms.

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