alice wu interview

Alice Wu thought she was done with Hollywood for good. After directing the lesbian romantic dramedy Saving Face to critical acclaim in 2004, which was partly inspired by her own coming-out experiences, Wu left the industry to take care of her mother.

“I was just really living my life and it was a very rich time getting to reconnect with my mom as an adult,” Wu told /Film in a phone interview ahead of the premiere of Netflix’s The Half of It, her first feature film in 16 years. But the idea that would become The Half of It, a charming teen romantic-comedy riff of Cyrano de Bergerac with an LGBTQ twist, was bouncing around her head for many of those years. “The idea for The Half of It was something that I thought of maybe eight or nine years ago, and it’s just been hanging around my head, I kept not doing anything with it. I wasn’t writing at all,” Wu said.

But a few years ago, she had a “come to Jesus” moment, Wu said. “My mom’s health has gotten better, I just gotten out of a relationship that I had been in a really long time, and I sort of realized, what am I doing with my life?” Wu described. “Like is my role in life just supposed to be trying to be someone’s good daughter or someone’s good girlfriend? Is there something I could be doing? And that’s when I started writing again.”

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The Half Of It review

“This is not a love story.” So The Half of It warns us early on, but it’s easy to be lulled into complacency by the familiar tropes that Alice Wu‘s teenage rom-com wields. A modern-day riff on Cyrano de Bergerac — the classic Edmond Rostand play that follows an intelligent man with an “ugly” nose who woos a woman through a more handsome suitor — The Half Of It presents itself as a cute LGBTQ twist on an age-old rom-com narrative: Guy asks girl to write a love letter to popular girl, girl falls in love with popular girl, everyone lives happily ever after. But unexpectedly, The Half Of It becomes something far deeper and more interesting.

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The Half Of It trailer

Netflix has already tried its hand at the modern-day teen romantic-comedy take on Cyrano de Bergerac with the profoundly bad Sierra Burgess is a Loser. But its latest teen rom-com fare offers a seemingly more affecting and progressive take on the classic catfishing story. Directed by Alice WuThe Half of It follows the bookish girl who is enlisted by a sweet jock to help him write love letters for the beautiful popular girl. The problem: she falls in love with her too. Watch The Half of It trailer below. Read More »