Netflix is streaming The Half of It,
the latest film from out filmmaker Alice Wu.
The romantic comedy was set to premiere
at the Tribeca Film Festival but pivoted to Netflix when the annual
festival was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wu's first film, Saving Face,
dealt with a relationship between a mother and her closeted daughter.
It was released in 2004. The Half of It marks Wu's return to
filmmaking since Saving Face.
Half of It, straight-A high school student Ellie (played by
Leah Lewis) is hired by Paul (Daniel Diemer) to win the heart of
Aster (Alexxis Lemire), the most popular girl in school. Ellie, it
turns out, also has feelings for Aster.
Wu told Deadline that she left
filmmaking to take care of her ailing mother.
She also talked about the understood
reasons why Ellie, who is Asian, would be reluctant to come out.
“You know, in the story, it's not
like she's 'dealing with homophobia,'” Wu
said. “It's a part of life that there's internalized homophobia
that fuels part of why she's afraid to talk about that. I try to
write the people as people.”
“I try and write as something that
feels like the textures of life. And it just happens that we
naturally are imbued with the tendency to discriminate difference. We
grew up with different prejudices, and those will come out. I guess I
write more from an internal place. It just comes out that way, I
guess. I’m not thinking, how will I make this Asian? It just is,”