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The Sun Is Also a Star is a 2019 American teen drama film directed by Ry Russo-Young and written by Tracy Oliver, based on the young adult novel of the same name by Nicola Yoon. The film stars Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton, and follows a young couple who fall in love, while one of their families faces deportation.

It was theatrically released in the United States on May 17, 2019, by Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures. The film received mixed reviews from critics and was a box-office bomb, only grossing $6 million against its $9 million budget.

Plot

Natasha lives in New York City with her parents Samuel and Patricia, plus her brother Peter, all of whom are illegally in the country. She has a keen interest in science and learning what she can. She also notes how her parents met when Samuel walked into Patricia’s store one day, and he, hopelessly fell romantically, for her. Unfortunately, Natasha and her family are set to be deported back to Jamaica the next day. Natasha is determined to change this, so she makes an appointment with the immigration office to try and reverse their decision. She meets with an attorney, Lester Barnes, and after asking questions, Natasha makes a tearful plea for her parents’ case, so Lester gives her a card to contact another lawyer friend of his, Jeremy Martinez, who can do pro bono work for her case. Natasha calls his office and is told that he is fully booked for the day, but after pleading, she is told she can meet with him for 15 minutes during his lunch break.

Daniel Bae is preparing for an interview for Dartmouth’s medical school program. He comes from a Korean family, and his parents Dae Hyun and Min Soo encourage him to pursue a career as a doctor. He also has a brother, Charles, who is dismissive and rude to him.

Daniel and his friend Omar get on the subway only to be in the same subway car as Natasha, when it stalls for a moment. The conductor takes the time to reassure the passengers that everything is fine. He begins telling a story about a friend who missed a train on 9/11 and, had he been on time, would have died since he worked at the World Trade Center. He concludes his point with the notion that they are there for a reason and to “open your heart to destiny.” The guys get off at Grand Central Station, where Daniel spots Natasha and is instantly smitten by her. He also notices her jacket, which reads “Deus Ex Machina”, a phrase he had been thinking about the same morning. Because of this, he thinks he has to go after her.

Natasha is walking down the street while listening to music, unaware of a crazed driver on the street. Daniel sees him and rushes to save Natasha before she walks into the driver’s path. She’s a little shaken up and goes to sit down, Daniel sits next to her to talk to for a while. He believes in fate, but she doesn’t believe in anything that can’t be readily observed or proven. Daniel says he'll do an experiment where he can make her fall in love with him in a day. The two head to a coffee shop before heading to their respective appointments. Daniel gets a call saying his interview has been moved to the next day. When Natasha comes back, he tells her about a survey that was taken between couples to determine whether they truly love each other. He asks Natasha some questions to try and woo her. She isn't impressed and thinks it’s corny.

Daniel escorts Natasha to Jeremy’s office, which happens to be in the same building where Daniel is set to have his interview. Natasha goes in and is told by Jeremy’s assistant that he got clipped by a car (probably the same one that almost hit her) and is in the hospital, so his next free time is around 4:30. With more time to kill, Natasha agrees to keep hanging out with Daniel.

The two make a stop at a hair/wig shop that Daniel’s parents own. He explains to Natasha how Koreans have business with manufacturing and distributing wigs. When they get there, Charles makes fun of Daniel in front of Natasha, while their father comes in and is more pleasant to Natasha. They leave, with Daniel feeling embarrassed.

Natasha and Daniel continue to spend the afternoon together, going to a planetarium where they hold hands, and make conversations about stars. Daniel notes that he writes poetry, and Natasha suggests what he could write about, including the stars. They later go to Korean karaoke where Daniel sings “Crimson and Clover” to Natasha before they have their first kiss. After, Natasha imagines a life with her and Daniel together, with marriage and a son in their future. However, Natasha is running late for her appointment with Jeremy, and when Daniel sees she is upset, she reveals to him that she is going to get deported, and that is why all of this is going to feel painful for her. She goes and meets Jeremy, where he offers to set up a new trial for her parents’ case for the next day.

Daniel goes back to the shop where he and Charles get into a fight before their father breaks it up. After calming down, Daniel narrates a bit of his family’s history, and how he and his brother have both Korean and American names. After he’s gone, Natasha goes to the shop and asks Charles for Daniel’s number. After seeing that she really likes him, Charles does so. She calls him, they reunite, and spend the rest of the day together before falling asleep in Central Park.

The next morning, both Natasha and Daniel rush to their appointments, but first Natasha calls her parents to let her know she is safe. Daniel interviews for Dartmouth with Jeremy, but Natasha barges into the office and asks what the verdict was. Jeremy somberly reveals that Natasha’s case was rejected, and she and her family must still leave that day. She is angry and vents to Jeremy before leaving, and Daniel cuts the interview short to go after her. He walks her home and meets her family before they head to the airport.

While there, just before having to say goodbye, Daniel does two more tests from the survey he mentioned earlier in which the couples have to maintain direct eye contact for four minutes without a word. While they are staring, we see Natasha leaving and going back. Natasha is in Jamaica and going to school, while Daniel has decided to attend Hunter College instead while working a job he is more comfortable with. The four minutes ends, and Natasha tells Daniel she loves him. He tearfully says his experiment worked.

Five years later, Natasha has returned to New York on her way to San Francisco for grad school, as her student visa has been approved. She meets Jeremy in the same coffee shop that she went to with Daniel to tell him what she has been up to, and learns that the doctor who treated him on the day they met would later become his wife. When she asks him about Daniel, Jeremy says he hasn’t seen him since the interview, and Natasha can’t find him anywhere on social media. After Jeremy leaves, Natasha prepares to leave too, unaware that Daniel is in the same shop about to read a poem. She recognizes his voice, and they see each other. He walks up to her and asks to spend the day with her, but she only has about an hour to spend. He is okay with that, and they kiss.

Cast

Production

Filming began on June 19, 2018.[3] In June, Camrus Johnson was cast to play Omar in the film,[4] and on June 29, 2018, Miriam A. Hyman also joined the cast, as Natasha's mother Mrs. Kingsley, a hard-working Jamaican-born waitress who is resigned to her family's imminent deportation.[5] In July 2018, Cathy Shim was cast to play Min Soo Bae, a Korean immigrant in the film.[6]

Herdis Stefánsdóttir composed the score for the film, while Dustin O'Halloran served as score producer. The soundtrack was released at Sony Classical.

Release

Theatrical run

International Premieres

Reception

Box office

The Sun Is Also a Star has grossed $5 million in the United States and Canada, and $1.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $6.6 million.[2]

In the United States and Canada, the film was released on May 17, 2019 alongside John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and A Dog's Journey, and was initially projected to gross $6–12 million from 2,037 theaters in its opening weekend.[7] However, after making $1 million on its first Friday, estimates were lowered to $3 million. It ended up debuting to $2.5 million, one of the worst-ever openings for a film playing in over 2,000 theaters.[1]

Critical response

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 52% based on 79 reviews, with an average rating of 5.66/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "The Sun Is Also a Star has a pair of easy-to-love leads, but tests the audience's affection with a storyline that strains credulity past the breaking point."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[9] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it 2.5 out of 5 stars.[1]

Amy Nicholson of Variety wrote: "this crowd-pleaser convinces us to spend one day savoring an American Dream."[10]

Gallery

Trivia

Differences from the book

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Anthony D'Alessandro (May 18, 2019). "‘John Wick: Chapter 3’ Takes Out ‘Avengers’ With $56M+ Opening, But ‘Endgame’ Bests ‘Avatar’ As 2nd Highest Grossing Pic Ever At Domestic B.O.". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved on May 18, 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The Sun Is Also a Star (2019)".. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on August 13, 2019.
  3. Musnicky, Sarah (June 19, 2018). "WB and MGM Start Production on The Sun Is Also a Star", ComingSoon.net. Retrieved on June 20, 2018. 
  4. Busch, Anita (June 11, 2018). "Loren Dean Joins 'The Mule'; Camrus Johnson Boards 'The Sun Is Also A Star'", Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved on July 1, 2018. 
  5. N'Duka, Amanda (June 30, 2018). "'The Sun Is Also A Star' Adds Miriam A. Hyman; Nicole Amber Maines Toplines LGBTQ Indie 'Bit'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved on June 30, 2018.
  6. N'Duka, Amanda (July 17, 2018). "Cinthya Carmona Joins 'The Tax Collector'; Cathy Shim Cast In 'The Sun Is Also A Star'; Jake Allyn In 'Kill Me Twice'", Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved on July 18, 2018. 
  7. Rebecca Rubin (May 14, 2019). "Box Office: ‘John Wick 3’ Takes Aim at ‘Avengers: Endgame’". Variety. Retrieved on May 14, 2019.
  8. "The Sun Is Also a Star (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media.
  9. "The Sun Is Also a Star Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive.
  10. "Film Review: ‘The Sun Is Also a Star’". Variety (15 May 2019).

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