The young adult film genre hasn’t earned a stellar reputation over the years. I went into The Sun is Also a Star with hope, but of course I couldn’t help but have some hesitation. I was just wanting a genuine love story with good working chemistry between these two charming leads. And while the film does take a bit to really get going, it does ultimately give the audience what they’re looking for. It’s true that it could’ve been better, but I left feeling like they, for the most part, achieved what they wanted to.
Charles Melton and Yara Shahidi both give good individual performances, and also have chemistry that’s believable. I knew Melton was famous for starring in the extremely popular Riverdale, but I have never watched that show so this film introduced me to him. I liked the way he was able to exude both confidence and charm in his performance. Shahidi was pretty good, there were moments where she seemed a tad stale to be honest but as the film went on, she progressed and made me believe what she was putting out there. The chemistry between them is endearing and does make you cheer for them. And I will say that the stakes that are raised are legitimate, so the tears don’t seem fake. The situation these people find themselves in is devastating.
Speaking of the circumstances they find themselves in, not only are they legitimate, but they are also timely. In America right now, immigration is a hot button issue and I liked that this film addressed the real heartache attached. I feel like this subject matter is very real and that modern day audiences will be able to connect with it. The diversity presented is awesome too, and history about where they both come from is also presented which is cool and adds another layer to the story. I liked the issues they were both facing, they were all believable and interesting.
The way in which the film is laid out works in it’s favor. There are scenes where Natasha has fantasy sequences and imagines both what she’s feeling and what she wants. That was smart because it gives us more than just her staring into his eyes. That’s something this film does better than most other young adult films; it has more depth.
There’s really only two things I thought this film needed to do a better job of. One is that the beginning isn’t nearly as gripping as the rest of it. I had doubts during the beginning because things just weren’t really picking up or grabbing me. Thankfully, the rest of it did, it just took a bit. The other downside is that some of the initial dialogue between them is very cheesy and there were a couple lines where I cringed a bit. I just thought it was too syrupy sweet. I felt like the writing could’ve definitely been stronger there. Like I’ve already said though, the writing does pick up as the film progresses. Things become less cheesy and are far more gripping because of it.
I really liked the way it ended, it’s not exactly what you would think of as a happy ending or a formulaic one, and I liked that about it. But don’t take that to mean it’s sad or anything, just not what I was expecting and I think the way this films ends things is mature and uplifts the story as a whole.
The Sun is also a Star is for sure better than a lot of other young adult films. For the most part, it achieves what it sets out to achieve, and because of that, I recommend it.
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