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The Sun is Also a Star

The Sun is also a star

By Joanna Langfield

Nicola Yoon’s acclaimed best seller hits the screen as a savvy and potent modern day romance.

While the teenage lovers may “meet cute”, with him rescuing her from getting hit by a car, not everything else is steeped in old school love story tradition. It used to be one of our young lovers was terminally ill. Or maybe had to leave town because their parents just didn’t understand. Now, the beautiful Natasha is choosing to spend her last day in New York in a desperate attempt to prevent her family’s deportation. The also beautiful Daniel is the one with his head in the clouds, but maybe Natasha’s isn’t all that far from there, either.

Not everything adds up here and I know, it’s a love story based on the idea that not everything should, but I found myself forgiving moments or questions I know would drive me crazy in a different film. A lot of that has to do with the real charm of the two leads, Yara Shahidi (“Blackish”) and Riverdale’s Charles Melton. Both make an impressive feature film lead transition with Melton, in particular, showing signs of real stardom no matter what size screen.

While director Ry Russo-Young keeps the pace of this essentially 24 hour romance humming along, she also slips in a very sweet spin to this sadly realistic story. There’s another romance happening here and it’s the love Russo-Young clearly feels for her native New York City. We glide from one (in all honesty, swept clean) neighborhood to another, celebrating the colors, mixtures and, even despite the odds, optimism. Hers is a New York where the Banks are named Hope and long established Italian coffee houses thrive next to falafel shops. Lovely, indeed.

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