3/4

The Half Of It [2020] ★★★

With “The Half of It”, Netflix may have finally dropped their finest coming-of-age movie yet. You heard me. Alice Wu directs this sweet and tender film about Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis, a revelation), a smart teen girl who writes essays for other students in exchange for cash (a piece of cake for her). Her most challenging assignment finally arises when a boy (played by Daniel Diemer) asks her to a write a love letter on his behalf. Problem is: she also has a crush on the same girl. From that moment on, “The Half of It” is a rollercoaster of emotions, but it’s also genuinely funny at times. It helps that Ellie is played by a very likable Lewis, who brings wit and irresistible tenderness to her role, which gives us rooting interest right from the start. It also helps that the film has a memorable score and plenty of references to classic films at every turn (the fun is in trying to name them). At the end, you’re left with a feeling that you’ve just witnessed something genuine and special. I rarely say this about a Netflix movie, but this one’s a winner in my book.

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