On May 2nd, 2019, I went to an advance screening of The Sun is Also a Star. This movie is directed by Ry Russo-Young and stars Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton. If this movie sounds familiar to you, you may have heard of the book by the same name, written by Nicola Yoon, the author of Everything, Everything.
This Young-Adult movie is about a girl named Natasha, a scientific intellectual whose family will be deported the next day to Jamaica, despite living most of her life in New York City. On her last day in the United States, she sets off to do whatever she can to prevent her family from leaving … and then she meets Daniel.
Daniel is a passionate artist who loves to write poems. However, he’s following his parents’ dreams of becoming a doctor.
As fate would have it, the two of them meet. You could say they’re opposites, as Daniel believes in love and Natasha doesn’t, which leads him to try and convince Natasha to fall in love with him, unknowing that this may be her last day.
I haven’t read the book, so my review is strictly on how the movie told the story rather than a book and film comparison (I know, I’m sorry, I’m ashamed of myself too). I actually thought I did have the book so I was really excited that I got tickets, because then I could read another book in my never-ending TBR (to-be-read) pile, but as it turned out, I mistook it for I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson.
Problems of having too many books. Can anyone else relate?
I did, however, read Nicola Yoon’s previous novel, Everything, Everything and I even went to the advance screening of that movie a few years ago, where the director of the movie, Stella Meghie, and Nicola Yoon herself were present. I really enjoyed that book and movie, which is why I was excited to see this one. I thought Everything, Everything was a really cute and fun story so I couldn’t wait to see how this one played out.
This movie was no different. The chemistry between the actors was strong, and it played out well onscreen. Their characters’ relationship seemed so natural, like they didn’t even know a camera was following them, or that this was their first time meeting.
And if you didn’t know, Nicola Yoon is an African American woman who’s married to an Asian man so as I watched this movie, I couldn’t help but feel like she was writing a story about her and her husband, which made the movie feel so personal and real. In fact, this movie alone is personal and real, as it sheds light onto those who have or currently are in Natasha’s shoes.
I enjoyed this movie especially for its uniqueness. This film stars an African American girl and a Korean boy and many of the characters or extras you saw were just as diverse, so I got the opportunity to watch a story that represented other ethnicities.
I also never encountered a story that had to do with immigration/deportation, let alone a love story (there is 90-Day Fiancé but this story is WAY more real than that show). Even though this may seem like your typical YA love-at-first-sight type of story, it’s still different from all the rest, which made it new and enjoyable.
The close-ups in the film really captured the characters’ ethnicity. The cinematography was very vibrant and lively and so was the music. I have to say, I really liked the music they played in the movie. I thought it was groovy and fun and it suited the movie very well. I don’t really pay much attention to music in film, but when it stands out to me, then I know there’s something special about it.
The film also presented scenic establishing shots of New York City to show the city’s beauty and the home that Natasha grew to love. They shot on location, according to Yara Shahidi, so after watching this movie, I kind of had the urge to fly to New York and explore the city.
The love story in this movie had its cliched moments, but, I mean, that’s what all love stories have. It certainly didn’t stop the audience from laughing or cheering or gasping or swooning. When it comes to romantic films, I think the best way to watch them is with a group, like at a theatre or with a group of friends, because when you get invested in a movie, people tend to react to it aloud. I enjoyed this movie so much more because I got a chance to hear those reactions as we all rooted for this love story to unfold.
After the movie, Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton came to the front to do a Q&A. I’m sorry that my pictures were taken on my phone so please bear with me.
The two actors were very kind. Charles actually came prior to the movie with a box of candy and handed it out to the audience, which is something I’ve seen online before but never experienced in real life. We already got complimentary popcorn and a drink, so the candy was the cherry on top of the cake. It was also very nice of him and Yara to offer to take photos after the Q&A with fans. In all the screenings I’ve been to, I’ve never seen that happen before so that was very thoughtful.
I also didn’t know that Yara Shahidi is an activist and she goes to Harvard University?!?!?! I also found out that she starred in the TV show Black-ish and now stars in Grown-ish. She’s got a lot going on right now but congrats on everything, you deserve it!
At the end of the Q&A, SURPRISE! There was also a promposal! Perfect place, perfect timing, am I right? If you want to see the highlights of the screening (with better pictures), you can check out the Warner Bros. Canada Instagram post below:
Let me know what you thought about this movie or if you’re going to see it. Or, let me know what your thoughts on love is. Do you believe in love/fate/destiny or do you think it’s only in the movies?
The Sun is Also a Star will be in theatres May 17, 2019.