Netflix has already tried its hand at the modern-day teen romantic-comedy take on Cyrano de Bergerac with the profoundly bad Sierra Burgess is a Loser. But its latest teen rom-com fare offers a seemingly more affecting and progressive take on the classic catfishing story. Directed by Alice Wu, The Half of Itfollows the bookish girl who is enlisted by a sweet jock to help him write love letters for the beautiful popular girl. The problem: she falls in love with her too. Watch The Half of It trailer below.

The Half of It Trailer

Newcomer Leah Lewis stars as Ellie Chu, a bookish introvert who makes extra cash by ghostwriting essays for her classmates. But her sedate existence is shaken up when a sweet but inarticulate jock Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) hires her to help him write love letters to the smart popular girl, Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire). Dozens of rom-coms before this classic boy-meets-girl would predict where this would go, right? Not quite. The Half of It is actually more of a girl-meets-girl, and becomes fast friends with boy. The LGBTQ twist on this Cyrano de Bergarac-style store is refreshing in and of itself, but the trailer for this Netflix teen rom-com suggests that it’s more than just a fluffy lesbian romance, but a rare depiction of the beauty of platonic love between friends.

The Half of It seems to have much more depth to it than the rest of Netflix’s teen rom-com catalogue, and I’m sure that’s by virtue of LGBTQ writer-director Alice Wu’s personal investment in the film. In a sweet director’s note accompanying the trailer, Wu writes, “So here I am, staring down the barrel of mid-life, having just made a movie about teenagers. Now that it’s done, I can see a few things more clearly. For one: I used to think there was only one way to love. That A plus B minus C equals Love. Now that I’m older, I see there are more. So many more ways to love than I had ever imagined.”

Here is the synopsis for The Half of It:

Bookish introvert Ellie Chu is perfectly content with her life: watching old movies with her widowed father and ghostwriting papers for her high school classmates to help pay the bills. But her side gig turns personal when lovelorn jock Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) hires her to craft love notes to Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire) — a smart, popular girl out of both their leagues… and Ellie’s own secret crush. Just as the duo’s plan begins to work, a new wrinkle emerges: Ellie and Paul have fallen into a deep friendship neither could have anticipated, giving rise to a surprising love triangle. Written and directed by Alice Wu, THE HALF OF IT is a heartfelt comedy-of-errors about searching for perfect love—and finding yourself in the process.

The Half of It premieres on Netflix on May 1, 2020.

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