Sun Is Also A Star
It's been a while since we've enjoyed a sweet, innocent, sincere
romance. Sure, it's a little
sappy, but it's nicely done, and isn't entirely predictable.
Natasha (Yara Shahidi) has lived in New York City for nine years
now. It's her home.
But her family says they're going to be deported back to Jamaica
tomorrow. It seems that ICE
raided the kitchen where her father worked.
Natasha, who plans to study astronomy in college, makes an
appointment with a government bureaucrat, who tells her there's nothing he
can do, but does give her the name of a lawyer, a friend of his who
specializes in immigration. She
begs his office for an appointment that day.
What she doesn't know is that her path has already collided with
him, or nearly so. A car with
a reckless driver bumps a bicycle rider, who happens to that same lawyer.
That same car is about to collide with Natasha, but she is saved by
an alert passerby, Daniel (Charles Melton).
Well, actually, he's more than a passerby, he'd been following her
from the train station lobby, because, well, he was smitten.
Natasha is grateful that he pulled her from the path of the
reckless automobile, but really doesn't believe in “fate” or
“destiny” or especially “love at first sight.”
Daniel, the poetic romantic, asks her for just one hour with her to
prove her wrong.
Well, the hour turns into more time because both their appointments
get postponed. It seems Daniel
was supposed to be interviewed for a scholarship to Dartmouth, as a
pre-med student. Except that's
what his parents expect of him, not what he wants.
They are South Korean immigrants who own a black hair care store in
Harlem. (They explain how it's
a thing with Koreans?)
We all know what's going to happen next---this handsome couple
finds fun ways to spend the day together, including a visit to the
planetarium, and strolling along the Hudson River, and even karaoke (would
you believe he sang “Crimson and Clover” to her?).
And somewhere along the way, they fall in love.
Director Ry Russo-Young keeps it PG-13, though:
there's no nudity or sex involved, just a lot of hugging, kissing,
and making moon eyes at each other. The
tension is because Natasha honestly doesn't know if she's going to be
deported the next day, so, literally, all they have is today.
And that, of course, becomes a metaphor: in light of the fact that
we are mere dots in the solar system, relatively speaking, we're all
butterflies, only alive one day.
Though both the stars are young, they are both already veteran
actors, and it shows. They
both command a strong screen presence individually, as well as creating
some chemistry together. We so
want to root for the star-crossed couple to somehow find a way to
“happily ever after,” even if logic might dictate otherwise.
After all, emotions are not controlled by logic.
This is the kind of romance that teens can safely watch as a
“date” movie. And if their
parents have any romanticism left in them, they just might enjoy it, also.