This mushy drama about illegal aliens feels like it’s made by aliens.
We meet two strangers with different nationalities and visa plans. One is a Korean poet named Daniel Bae (Charles Melton from “Riverdale”), born and raised in America, and the other is a Jamaican girl named Natasha Kingsley (Yara Shahidi), who’s forced to be deported back to her country with her family.
“The Sun Is Also a Star” is a typical love story where everything has to either be a coincidence or fate In Daniel’s defense, it’s fate, and in Natasha’s defense, it’s a coincidence. In my defense, it’s just generic. Of course, they’re gonna meet and fall in love, because they’re basically aliens who have to follow the movie rules.
Everything has to be a coincidence, set in New York City. Natasha has a day left in America, and scores an interview with a case worker (John Leguizamo) to help her reopen her case. And Daniel has an alumni interview at Dartmouth to become a doctor has part of his family tradition. He doesn’t want to be a doctor; he wants to fall in love with her and become a poet. And his interview gets pushed to 8am the next day.
Because their interviews have been postponed due to this alleged fate, they’re able to spend more time with each other.
“The Sun Is Also a Star” is also interested in astrology, and is given quick shots of the planets, the astronomers, and the influence that inspires poetry. Shahidi narrates this movie because of this, and looking at these parts are interesting.
But nothing else works.
The cultural issues are treated with standard modernism, and aren’t delved into strongly. I know there are racial traditions in reality, but in movies like “The Big Sick” and “The Visitor,” they’re treated more serious than this movie.
The acting is also hammy. Shahidi and Melton both have to canceled NBC drama characters with predictable elements. They can be good talents in other media, but here, they’re routine and overly dramatic.
The movie was based on the novel by Nicola Yoon, the same woman who wrote “Everything, Everything.” I never saw that, but I heard from Richard Roeper that it was terrible, so I’m glad I took his advice on that. And the screenplay was written by Tracy Oliver, who knew strong-willed women in “Girls Trip,” then she did with “Little” and “The Sun Is Also a Star.”
This is a movie made for teenagers, who get hypnotized by this kind of tear-jerker without realizing there are much better movies of it’s kind.