Cast and Characters. We meet some other characters just barely, like Natasha’s family (though her brother never talks) and Daniel’s family. Also, a friend of Daniel’s and a lawyer but as they’re not really that important in the movie I’m not going to go into them.
Charles Melton as Daniel Bae.Daniel is preparing for his interview with Dartmouth as his parents want him to become a doctor as he is first generation in America and a lot is expected of him. However, he wants to be a poet because he’s a hopeless romantic and puts his feelings out through his words. He feels an enormous amount of pressure but when he sees Natasha in the train station, he is immediately taken and believes in destiny. Once they meet, he works to prove to her that love exists and that she could fall in love with him in that one day. I like Daniel a lot, he’s just a kind person who is trying to figure out what he wants but he also thinks of his family because he knows what his choices means for them. Charles Melton is too old to play Daniel, I thought so when he was cast and I thought so while watching the movie, however, I actually liked him. I clearly loved this girl from the moment he laid eyes on her and I truly believed that throughout the film. If there’s anything he can do well, is be in love lol. He also has a natural charisma that works for the character but he just registers too old for the part.
Yara Shahidi as Natasha Kingsley.I will have some other things to say about her later, but Yara Shahidi has an uneven performance. I know she was the first choice but she was also miscast but sure. Natasha is desperate to stay in America as she has spent most of her life here and she doesn’t want to get deported for something they can’t control. ICE did a random check and all that. So, she’s really stressed out, desperate and emotional but when she meets Daniel, she manages to find some break from all that. When they’re playing off each other, she does well. All the scientific stuff that Natasha talks about and when she’s sharing her thoughts on those things, it works for her. She’s also so beautiful. They zoom in on her face a lot and I’m just like “This girl is gorgeous” lol.
Beautiful Cinematography. Autumn Durald does the cinematography and I think the movie has a very nice look to it. It has this dreamy quality to it which fits for the nature of the story. There a LOT of shots of New York and it’s beautiful to look at while the movie was basically transitioning.
Character Chemistry. I could tell from the trailers that Shahidi and Melton had nice chemistry and I think that’s one of the highlights of the movie is that while I have issue with the acting and other things, they managed to make me believe they were really falling for each other.
Idea of the Story. As I love the book, I love the story and I do not normally like romance novels. In the movie, Natasha has a day to try and prevent her family from being deported while Daniel is supposed to going to his interview for college. He ends up saving her from being hit by a car (*rolls eyes*) and they go sit down and they talk about love once she finds out he’s a poet. He declares he can get her to fall in love with him and he has a scientific way to prove it, since she’s very much into science and facts and love cannot be proven. I like the idea of their separate stories as they both have the future to think about, albeit different futures, but the future nonetheless and I like the idea of it stressing them both out but they have found a moment to be free from that worry. All of that is nice.
The Karaoke Sequence. One of my favorite sequences from the movie is the karaoke scene. Daniel takes Natasha to this Asian karaoke bar and he sings for her and we get a flash forward of Natasha thinking of what their life could be like if she gives in to this feeling. I thought it was really sweet, especially with the music choice.
Inconsistent Acting. I was already skeptical because I wasn’t really into this casting for either of the lead characters. Natasha is Jamaican and Yara Shahidi does not even look like the rest of her family. I thought it was a bit weird and a missed opportunity to cast a darker skinned actress in a leading role, especially for a YA movie. As for Charles Melton, I’d only see him in Riverdale and he’s fine as Reggie (he doesn’t get much to do anyway) but I just thought he was too old and seemed to physically fit Daniel’s brother more than Daniel. Sorry, I got off topic lol, but I think the acting isn’t that great mostly from Shahidi. I don’t watch either of the shows she’s been on so this was my first time seeing her act and I don’t think she’s that great, particularly at the emotional scenes. Natasha has a lot going on in this one day, a lot of emotions she’s going through and I don’t think they hit the way they should have due to her not seeming to make it convincing.
Too Long. This movie is 100 minutes long, which isn’t really that long but this movie felt so long which is a problem. I think I read the book in a day, so I would imagine that with this movie being about an hour and some change would be fine, but it felt like nothing was really happening for the movie to be taking as long as it was. I checked my watch a few times. It has a lot of shots of New York and people doing New York things while some kind of pop song is playing and it just felt like padding.
Movie Flow. I was trying to think of why I found myself not liking the movie the way I wanted to. The movie has a lot of padding and it seems like there isn’t really a story with how they shoot it. It’s like we have moments of them separately, then a lot of shots of New York and music, then they meet and some dialogue then again, more shots of New York and its people and the music. The movie just feels like they didn’t have enough plot to show so they filled it in with transitional shots and music.
Overall, I wanted to like The Sun is Also a Star more than I did as I loved the book. I think it starts off really slow and it’s really only when Natasha and Daniel meet that it gets better, but not by that much. There are some positive things, like the characters are generally fine and the acting is okay, mostly with Charles Melton being the better out of the two leads. I really liked the karaoke scene and I think the two leads had great chemistry. Also, the idea of the story is fine. With that said, the acting is inconsistent throughout the film from almost everyone who gets to really talk but mostly from Shahidi. It’s too long, or it feels like it’s too long and the flow of the movie doesn’t work as it feels like it’s taking forever with NOTHING happening.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen The Sun is Also a Star? Did you read the book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Summary: A teenager who’s lived a sheltered life because she’s allergic to everything, falls for the boy who moves in next door.
Cast and Characters. I think everyone is really good in their roles. Being that these are characters from a young adult novel, with the exception of Maddy’s mother, I think everyone fills those roles really well, they look like their characters and feel like their characters in the book. Maddy’s mother is Japanese American in the book and her father was black, it looked like they switched it in the film.
Amandla Stenberg as Madeline “Maddy” Whittier. Maddy is an 18 year old girl who is living with a disease that prevents her from going outside called “SCID”. It pretty much means that she could die if she goes outside. She’s lived her entire life in her house. However, she manages to have a pretty positive outlook on life, she knows what her limitations are but that doesn’t stop her from longing, especially for the ocean. When she sees Olly’s family moving in she’s immediately drawn to him and she watches him to know more. When they start talking, it’s a bit easy to see that she’s nervous but she wants to know more about him. As time goes on, she wants more and more, and she even risks her life to run outside to see if Olly is okay when he gets into it with his father. Maddy puts her passion into everything. I like Amandla, and I thought she was well cast here. She was soft spoken most times, but she was able to maintain a kind of fierceness about her. She ended up being a little forward which for her, was good and it made sense instead of her just being pulled along by Olly. I had massive hair envy of her as well. The film really rests on her shoulders and I think she led it well.
Nick Robinson as Oliver “Olly” Bright. Olly is introduced when Maddy looks out her window and sees his family moving into the house next door. After he and his sister bring over a bundt cake, he shows his interest. As the story continues, he continues to try to reach out to her in different ways, he uses a bundt cake to make her laugh, he gives her his number, he asks her questions and he seems open but I think he also showed that he had his own secrets which we learned. I liked Nick Robinson, I’ve only ever seen him in Jurassic World and his character was meh, but here, he was able to have a bit more fun. He was able to really fall in love, to worry about her, to worry about his family, to have fun and show her fun things. It was cute seeing him care so much and the way he looked at her, I thought he did very well. I was a little sad that they didn’t keep physical stuff he liked to do. In the book, Olly, liked to climb on stuff, he would climb up on his roof a lot. However, I do like they had him have longer hair whereas in the book he had a shaved head.
Anika Noni Rose as Pauline. She’s a doctor, she works in a hospital but she also makes sure that Maddy is well cared for. She’s not always around but when she is, she and Maddy have fun. They play Phonetic Scrabble, they watch movies together and it’s clear that Pauline loves Maddy. She might be a little bit of a curious person though. I think Anika Noni Rose does a good job, she has great chemistry with Amandla, I believed that she was her mother, I thought her performance was also very understated. When she finds out that Maddy had been talking with Olly, she doesn’t freak out, she sits and talks with her in that knowing motherly tone. I was actually surprised because I think she freaked out a bit more in the book. I appreciated that it wasn’t overly dramatic. There’s also a scene towards the end, an emotional scene between mother and daughter, and again, I thought Anika Noni Rose was really subdued but emotional in how she performed that scene.
Ana de la Reguera as Carla. She has a larger part in the book, but Carla is Maddy’s nurse, had been for years and a friend to Maddy. She, in the beginning knows that something is different once Maddy starts talking with Olly. She spends her days with Maddy and knows her so well, that she walks into a room and knows something is different. She even allows for them to meet in person because she wants Maddy to have something to experience. She’s very supportive, she loves Maddy and she’s also funny. Once she learns that Maddy wants to keep Olly from coming over from her mother, she wonders about her own daughter keeping secrets.
The Story. I think it’s sweet. It’s not an extremely deep story but it has a lot of layers. There’s a girl who wishes she could go outside, knows she can’t and is okay with that, for the most part. She has her wishes, her illness prevents that and she’s okay with it, but when she meets Olly, she starts to get a lot of new thoughts and wants. Just like any young woman, she begins to want more than she has and Olly is a nice catalyst to that. I think it’s more than just love that causes her to want to go outside, mostly visit the ocean, it’s something she’s always wanted, and she does it. Don’t let fear hold you back, if you want everything, then go for everything. It’s definitely sweet to me. There’s definitely more to it but I don’t want to spoil anything either lol. But there are some interesting additions between Maddy and her mom.
The Romance/Chemistry. This film banks on the relationship and chemistry of Maddy and Olly. If Amandla and Nick didn’t work out together, then this movie would be terrible. They have great chemistry. When Maddy first sees him, it’s already shown in her eyes that she’s intrigued, same with him, when he sees her, it’s flirty. But then it turns into something more and they are able to really connect.
The Texting/Getting To Know Each Other Scenes. So in the book, Maddy doesn’t have a phone, she only emails and IMs Olly and we have to read their interactions, which is fine. But for a movie, I’m glad the audience wasn’t stuck just reading their emails, and text messages. They spend time actually talking on the phone before they meet in person, whenever they start texting each other, the viewers go into Maddy’s imagination and we get to see Olly and Maddy actually physically talk in her imagination, we get to see the actors talk but in real time they’re texting. It’s really cool to see that. When they actually get into a room together, we see awkward silences and their conversation but at the same time, we see sentences of their inner thoughts. I thought that was handled really well. When things got emotional and taxing between them, texting and IMing is so impersonal but seeing them actually interacting helped.
The Music. This will be in both parts, but there are parts where the music really worked, especially in the scene where they are driving together to their hotel. I also love that song. There are also some more mood like music in the film that is sweet and uplifting. It helps fit the movie, it’s even better when the characters are playing the music or listening to it themselves because it fits even more and not just blasting in our ears as the audience.
Looks Good/The Colors. This film looks really good, the colors are bright and warm. Whenever Maddy wears colors, it always looks like the colors were turned up to make it pop more. When she’s outside, this filter seems to slide over the camera, which makes sense as this all new to her. When she’s at the ocean, the shots are so beautiful, the water looks beautiful and makes me want to go there. Maddy wears a lot of white and it looks clinical and off putting but at the same time ethereal which makes sense for her character.
The Credits. This isn’t a point to the movie at all, because it’s the credits lol but I appreciated how they added all of the drawings and pictures from the book into the credits. It was cute.
It’s Cutesy. If you don’t like romance movies, especially ones with young people, then this movie won’t be for you. It’s really cute and in places it’s a bit too cute where part of you may feel like ugh.
A Bit Slow/Pacing. There are moments, which for a book works, but for a film, those moments of staring out a window, or staring at each other longing for long periods of time doesn’t always work. It gets a little awkward after the third time. It slows the film down and makes it feel slower than it probably needs to be. Instead of all those moments, they should have filled those spaces with learning more about Olly’s character outside of his interactions with Maddy. In the book, there were a lot of times where Maddy watches from her window, and sees things at Olly’s house, I think if the movie would have shown his side a bit too, albeit from her POV, it would help give him a bit more character.
The Music. It’s not always bad but sometimes it’s just too much pop music. I always think that music is a big part of the film but I think this film uses way to many pop songs. There’s one song by Alessia Cara and Zedd I think that I really like, but then there were like two songs immediately afterwards. I started to get a little fatigued.
The Disease is Forgotten. Maybe that’s the point considering that Maddy wants to live her life, what may be left outside BUT it feels like if the disease didn’t exist, it wouldn’t really change anything. She’d just be a sheltered girl who went outside for the first time and then the disease comes back and makes an appearence for drama. You could really take it out and it wouldn’t really matter for the most part.
The Last Act. So Maddy and Olly run off to Hawaii to “escape” and it’s cute but then drama happens. The last 30 minutes or so, feel kind of random, I think the book handled it better, it flowed better than in the film. It just felt like things took a weird left turn and if I didn’t know what was going to happen, I would wonder why there wasn’t a buildup to this. Maybe Carla should have said something, I think she did in the book, but here there’s nothing. There should have been something. It gets a little emotional in the movie but I don’t think that translate to the audience, at least not to feel the same emotion the characters are feeling, or at least to cry at what’s being shown. It feels a little unearned.
Overall, I really liked this movie, I thought it was cute. It’s a nice date movie. If you go into this film expecting a huge romantic love story, you won’t really get that. It’s a young adult story (one of the better ones I think though) so don’t expect a big epic love story, but to these two characters and probably some teenagers they may feel that way. I think the characters are good for the film and the cast do well in their jobs, they are well casted from their book counterparts. Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson really hold well together with their chemistry and interactions. I love the little tidbits of watching them get to know each other even though it’s through texting form. I think the movie looks really good as well, the colors are bright and welcoming, the whites that Maddy wear are pristine and clinical which fits into her world, the shots at the beach were beautiful. It’s fun. On the other hand, it does feel a bit shallow in the emotional tidbits at the end, it doesn’t feel earned like it should be. The last act of the film feels a little random where it seems like some scenes are missing or that they don’t flow well together.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Everything, Everything? Have you read the book? How does it compare?
What is your favorite romantic movie?
What romantic book do you want to be turned into the film?
Let me know in the comments below!
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Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
The Characters. The way this book is written, we get to meet and learn about a lot of characters, including the supporting ones. But I’m not going to really get into all of that here, just a few, mostly the two lead characters.
Natasha Kingsley. She is Jamaican-American, and her family is being deported for being illegal immigrants. She is trying to figure out how to stop that from happening. She ends up meeting Daniel by chance. Natasha comes off as cynical, she really loves science and believes everything should be able to be explained by science. She is a bit brash, likes honesty and says what she wants when she thinks it. She has a determined personality and doesn’t believe in fate.
I quite liked Natasha. I thought she was a very realistic teenager in how she thinks, how she reacts to things considering how she’s grown up. I loved the fact that she was black with a large afro and that she carried herself confidently and that she was extremely smart and interested in science. There were times when I wish she wasn’t so… cynical about life and hope etc but I thought that was kind of realistic for what was happening and how her life had been.
Daniel Jae Ho Bae. He was my favorite. Korean-American, he and his older brother were born in America but his parents are immigrants from South Korea and his father especially is steeped in doing what’s best, not doing what they want. He wants to be a poet but his parents want him to go to Yale, become a doctor, marry a Korean girl and all of that. While he wants to do his own thing, he doesn’t know what that is. He happens to meet Natasha by seeing her dancing across the street in New York City and a series of events allows him to actually meet her.
I like Daniel a lot, like I said he was my favorite. I like guys who are romantic without being “too much”. I like the fact that it was him who fell first and that he was intelligent enough to talk to her, to let her know he wanted to know what she knew. He was quite the charmer and he seemed like if he was real, he would be really interesting to talk to, I’d think I’d like him. Plus, the Noraebang (karaoke) scene was the best.
The relationships. A big part of this novel is how Daniel and Natasha interact with other people, as well as each other. Due to the way the novel is written, we are able to see a bit more into some of these character’s backstories, which helps humanize them in a way they might not be through what is thought and said by Daniel and Natasha. It’s great.
Daniel and Charlie. Charlie is Daniel’s older brother and he’s a major douche nozzle. We learn from Daniel the moment when they started to drift apart and they basically have an antagonistic relationship moving forward. Charlie seems to hate Daniel but I don’t think Daniel necessarily hates Charlie, it’s just that he doesn’t get why his brother seems to dislike him so much and Daniel had to learn how to stand up to him.
Daniel and his parents. Definitely an interesting dynamic. His mother is like a mother, a bit nagging but loving. The tone of Daniel’s day really starts because his mother tells him something about his brother than Charlie overhears, but we really don’t spend that much time with her. When we meet his father, it’s at their shop and his father discovers that Daniel is with a black girl and he basically tells him “no” and that he needs to stick to the plan. It’s quite interesting.
Natasha and her father. We do meet her mom and brother but it’s really the relationship with her father that is most prominent and interesting. She is upset with him, it’s his fault they’re being deported, she hates him because of something she overheard him say to his wife and she hasn’t said a word to him about it. But we learn a lot about him through her eyes, as well as from his backstory tidbits we learn throughout the novel
Natasha and Daniel. Obviously, being the main center of the story… they just work.
The Style of Writing. The way the novel is written is very different. The story is told in present tense in Daniel and Natasha’s point of view, it switches back and forth between the two. Sometimes it’s a few pages of a chapter and other times, it’s just a page or two. It also includes backstories of other characters they have come into contact with as well as minor histories of things such as: the Black Hair Care business, fate etc. I quite liked it. It makes for easy read and it helps to understand side characters because even if they are minor, they all have reasons to be involved with the story.
The Story/Romance. It’s a romance, but it’s a tentative one. The characters have to progress into it. Natasha is so cynical that she doesn’t believe in love the way that Daniel does, who is a romantic. They really do spend the day getting to know each other, learning about each other’s strengths and weaknesses and it was natural, the way young adults would. I thought Nicola Yoon handled their personal problems well, their inner voices, their struggles and all of that built into what they grow into.
Starts off slow. It did take me a moment to get into this book. I normally don’t like reading books told from different points of views. Sometimes it’s not done well and it’s annoying. That didn’t bother me here, it was just that it took a moment to get started. Once the day actually begins with Daniel and Natasha being away from home… it starts to pick up.
Not for everyone. This is the kind of book I would think is not for everyone. I mean, no book is, but definitely noticeable here. I think if the characters and the writing didn’t sweep me up, I might have disliked it. If you’re not into romance, don’t read it. If you don’t like it when characters doubt where things could go… then don’t read it. Personally, I do think this book could change your perspective on that but just saying.
Overall, I loved this book. I don’t think I’ve loved a book like this in a long time. One that featured non-white leads, written by a black woman and that didn’t have some fantasy element to it. I like adventure/fantasy type books and I loved this book and it had none of that. I loved the characters, I loved the way they interacted with each other. Normally, I’m wary of young adult books because the dialogue could sound older than what it is but I didn’t think that here, and the times where I might have, it wasn’t jarring. I loved their romantic progression, it wasn’t forced. The ending tore me up inside and was filled with hope. I cried. If a book can make me cry and no one died… well done.