Arguably one of the most exciting types of film are those set over the course of one day. The deadline of one day usually makes the story easy to follow, heightens emotions and if it’s a romance film will usually showcase a couple partaking in an epic love story.
The Sun Is Also a Star is one of those films, being exciting to watch, adorable in its theme of destiny and romance and keeps the audience smiling – that is for the first 45 minutes. After those 45 minutes the film takes a left turn into a completely different tone, making the poor execution and cheesy nature almost laughable.
The film is based on a book of the same name, which has rave reviews and became a #1 New York Times bestseller. After the book did so well, audiences anticipated the film to be a success as well, and many people believed it to be the next The Fault in Our Stars. However, the book simply doesn’t translate well to the screen.
The film begins with the potential to be the next great rom-com. Natasha (Yara Shahidi) and her family are being deported to Jamaica and have one day left in New York City. While Natasha struggles to set up meetings with immigration lawyers, she is saved from being hit by a car by Daniel (Charles Melton) who is convinced destiny wanted them to meet. After Natasha tells Daniel she doesn’t believe in love, Daniel tries to convince her otherwise, by challenging her to fall in love with him in one day. The two spend time walking around together, getting coffee and a plethora of other cute scenes that put instant smiles on audiences’ faces. However, after that first 45 minutes, the tone changes, and it’s as if the writers forgot what kind of movie they were trying to make.
There are a few key grievances with the film that are undeniable. First is the use of stock photo compilations, which has almost never been able to work in film, and no exception is made here. Next is the brief history the audience receives of Daniel’s family through a photo collage of the past, which is completely out of place in the context. Not to mention the multiple continuity errors with the time of day and where the sun was in the sky, and the awkward changing of pace that made the film hard to follow.
The biggest issue was the film’s length, which could’ve been cut down about 20 to 30 minutes. The film could’ve easily gone without the cheesy imaginary montage Natasha has of her possible future with Daniel, including getting married and having kids, and the five years later portion of the ending. A lot of the audience thought the film had ended before the five years later portion and were getting up to leave when the movie kept going. It was unnecessary and put an even larger damper on an already sinking film.
Though the film receives a lot of warranted criticism, the film has a chunk of a great budding romance, as previously mentioned. It’s important to note the soundtrack for the film is fun and romantic, including songs like “Crimson and Clover” by Tommy James & The Shondells, “Paradise” by Bazzi, “Get Free (feat. Amber Coffman)” by Major Lazer and a beautifully written score by Herdís Stefánsdóttir. In addition, the camerawork is exquisite. The film has some of the most beautiful shots, and the artistry behind every scene is truly inspiring.
The best scene in the film is by far the karaoke scene, when Daniel and Natasha are on their date. The romantic and sexual tension mixed with the art direction of the camerawork and the acting from Shahidi and Melton created one of the most intimate and romantic scenes romantic films have seen in a long time.
By far the biggest saving grace of the film was Melton. It’s hard to find someone to fill the roll of Daniel, who is written as being a smart, charming, gorgeous, kind boy who has enough confidence to fill a football stadium. Melton had every bit of boyish charm, adorable kindness, brilliant sense of humor and incredible sex appeal that created what seems to be the perfect man. There was simply no one else who could play Daniel.
Overall the movie isn’t a must see. Even though the first 45 minutes are an initial incline, the movie reaches a point and rapidly declines, similarly to a rollercoaster. The cheesiness and sheer ungraspable nature of the majority of the film has the audience confused to the point where people are laughing during the emotional peak. The film wouldn’t have succeeded at all if it weren’t for Melton, and will forever be a film that has wasted potential.