Title: The Sun Is Also a Star
Released: 2019

Source Material
Title: The Sun Is Also a Star
Nicola Yoon

I fell hard for this book when I reviewed it a few years ago, so I quite excited for this movie. It had quite a bit of heavy lifting to do, showing us why these two crazy kids would fall in love in a single day. Let’s see if they pulled it off with our very thorough and very scientific examination of the subject. 

The Official FYA The Sun Is Also a Star Drinking Game

(I’m calling it now that you should probably bring along a DD or be close enough to mass transit before indulging. It wasn’t my intention to get you schwasty, but…don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

Take a drink whenever:

  • There’s an intense close-up of Tasha’s (so-beautiful-you-want-to-hate-her) face
  • A character does a voiceover “lesson” for us
  • Daniel’s button-down shirt has at least four buttons undone (you’ll understand what I mean)
  • Someone mentions the concept of space or the stars
  • There’s a montage of Daniel and Tasha with no speaking parts
  • You see a beautiful shot of NYC think, “Damn, I WANT TO GO TO THERE [again].”
  • Characters discuss fate and/or destiny, or when something fateful seems to happen

Take a shot whenever:

  • Daniel gratuitously shows off his abs
  • The camera does a long slow tilt shot of the city that makes you want to turn your head to follow the view
  • Daniel’s brother Charlie does the only nice thing he’ll ever do in his life (according to the book, at least)
  • That norebang/karaoke scene happens

Finish your drink whenever:

  • Daniel meets Tasha’s family because, lo, the awkwardness (more about that below)

These Test Subjects Are Also Actors

Yara Shahidi as Natasha Kingsley

I have only seen a handful of episodes of Blackish, so Yara isn’t a familiar face to me, but I thought she did a great job as tough-but-vulnerable Natasha. And look at those cheekbones! The camera loved her, and you could totally get why Daniel would see her and immediately want to get to know her. They didn’t tint her hair pink BUT I totally appreciated the call out when she grabbed a bottle of pink hair dye and contemplated doing it. 

Charles Melton as Daniel Bae

Similarly, I’ve never seen Charles in anything before; I was really going into this with fresh eyes. My conclusion is he’s adorable and mostly pulls off Daniel’s awkward confidence. He’s definitely way too mature looking to be playing a seventeen/eighteen-year-old guy; like, Jason Behr levels of dude, you cannot pull this off. I’m curious to know what you guys thought of him, as I saw the movie with my friend and she wasn’t as enamored, and we had some question: specifically, the look he makes when he’s staring at Natasha like she’s a tasty snack he wants to eat. Is he pulling off a appropriately smoldering sexy-face, or does it occasionally tip more towards I’m-a-serial-killer-and-you’re-my-next-skin-suit face (as seen below)?

He stares very intensely.

This Observation Section Is Also A Spoiler-Free Zone

  • While I generally liked the soundtrack that consisted of hip hop and tinkly instrumentals, I confess I was hoping to hear some of the rock music that book!Tasha loved (especially since this weekend is the two year anniversary of when we lost Chris Cornell *sobs*).

  • Did they change the color of Daniel’s red tie to plaid just so they could make that pad Thai joke from the trailer? If so, I think that was a mistake, because my theory is a red tie would’ve been a million times hotter.

  • Also, can we talk about Daniel’s suit? WHAT THE WHAT was that FIT? The odds of a teenage boy having a perfectly tailored suit are probably fairly low, but this is where you decide to go for “realism”, costume designer and director? Every time we got a good look at Daniel’s backside walking down a NYC street and I beheld the truly heinous fit of those saggy gray suit pants, I cringed. Melton is hot. You showed us his beautiful abs; I’m willing to bet the view from behind is equally attractive. DON’T DO THIS TO US HIM.

  • Oh, hey, it’s John Leguizamo! I had no idea he was going to be in this movie, but sure!

  • The cinematography was quite lovely. While I may have had a bit of an issue with the vast amount of staring the two leads had to accomplish, everything else was so dreamy looking, and there were plenty of glamour shots of the city in all its glory. The planetarium! The bridges! The coffee shops!

These Critiques Are Also Random Spoiler-Filled Musings

  • Some of my favorite parts were when Natasha and Daniel simply sit and have a conversation, like their first meet-up at the coffee shop when he starts to ask her those ten relationship questions. I would have loved more of this, because it seems those important moments were often cut off when Tasha had to dash off to an appointment, or when we stopped to do a lovey-dovey montage instead of, you know, actual character-building. It made me think of Before Sunrise, which was almost all talking, and for good reason: it’s integral to showing us how intense the connection is between these two complete strangers. 

  • It’s an adaptation, so there’s always going to be something that gets left out, but the entire subplot about Tasha being mad at her dad for being a failed actor who then accidentally gets them deported gave her family some nuance and depth compared to what little we end up seeing of them.

  • So my friend and I busted out laughing when Daniel stands outside Natasha’s apartment, rolling down his sleeves and tucking in his shirt to look presentable when meeting her parents, but simultaneously decides to leave his impressive man-cleavage on full display. Then when Tasha starts arguing with her family, there’s a great shot of him just slowly backing up until he’s out of frame. It’s already awkward to show up at a new flame’s house when you kept them out all night canoodling, but then to be an unwilling witness to a family fight? Run, Daniel, run.

  • Sorry to keep sounding like a book-fan who wanted the movie to be exactly the same, but I was slightly disappointed by the way Natasha and Daniel reconnected at the end. A stare-down in the coffee shop didn’t have enough big-romantic-ending appeal for the sap in me. I wanted it to be on the plane, even though there was no Irene the security guard to facilitate it. I also really didn’t get why Tasha called the lawyer of all people to ask if he knew how to contact Daniel…surely she could have stopped by his family’s store? Had he really changed his cell phone number? (Who does that? 😜) They never exchanged even one email? You really should have just made the plane thing happen, script writers.

  • I totally smirked that Daniel, who always wanted to be a poet, went through college and is…working at the coffee shop. 

These Final Thoughts Are Also My Conclusion

  • If I had to give this movie a theme, I’d pick “Falling in Love with Love” which does sound nicer than romance-porn, although I think both are true. You’ll want to see this movie to feel hopeful, to see pretty people gaze lovingly at each other, and alternately feel good/bad about your own relationship or perhaps feel terrible/hopeful if you aren’t in one. There’s not a ton of substance, but I still found myself smiling randomly throughout.

  • On an adaptation scale of Love, Simon to The Fifth Wave, I would put The Sun is Also A Star right in the middle. You don’t need to rush out to see it in theaters, but you won’t hate yourself for turning it on when you’re home on a sick day with nothing else to do.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.