“The Sun is Also a Star.” The North Star is also a star. And now I just miss the North Stars.
Anyway, there’s a movie to review. “The Sun is Also a Star” is the latest romance film based on a young adult novel. Of course, the movie follows two young adults, Natasha (Yara Shahidi) and Daniel (Charles Melton). Natasha is a Jamaican whose family is about to be deported back to Jamaica by the U.S. Government, while Daniel, whose family immigrated from Korea, is preparing to apply for college.
One day, through a chance encounter, the two meet and after talking, find out that they have differing opinions. Daniel believes in fate, destiny, and thinks that the universe brought them together. Natasha is much more of a skeptic, to the point where she doesn’t believe in fate or love. To convince her, Daniel suggests they spend the day together to prove who’s right and see if they fall in love.
“Also a Star” comes across as a film wanting to be a more mature, thought-provoking romantic tale, while still being heavily bound by the constraints of the young adult love genre. While the film often spouts off philosophical points about love and life, it also falls into every trope the genre has to offer.
There’s the second-to-third act misunderstanding, the awkward moments with side-characters and a fair share of montage sequences set to pop tunes.
When it comes to the philosophical moments is where the movie really sinks. Whether it be through dialogue between the two leads or monologues by the characters between scenes, there’s a feeling of pretentiousness carried in these moments. It’s less thought-provoking and more eye-rolling.
It’s somewhat understanding why these were inserted. Any time you have a romance film set in a one-day time frame, things can feel rushed without the relationship fully being explored and some extra elements inserted. But it just doesn’t work here as the writing never feels real or convincing, instead it comes across as all style and no substance.
In all fairness, though, the two lead performers do deserve credit. If there’s anything to enjoy about the film, it’s the lead actors, who’re both likable and share a fine on-screen chemistry with each-other. Both Shahidi and Melton bring passion to the roles and do the best they can with the material provided.
The two leads and a few cute moments help save “Also a Star” somewhat, but only just enough. The film still suffers from weak writing, plus a tacked on extra ending that felt unnecessary. 2.5 out of 5.