Destiny is a complicated thing. Perhaps it is safe to say that when it comes to the topic of fate, humanity is divided into two: those who easily, simply, and conveniently believe in it, and those who devotedly keep a scientific attitude. More often than not, the discussion on destiny is attached to yet another complicated thing: love. When these two come together, destiny and love, they say it can be the most beautiful thing. After all, who doesn’t want love that is meant-to-be?
To Natasha Kingsley, a Jamaica-born pragmatist, there is no such thing as magic, fate, or meant-to-be; but immigrant Daniel Bae, a college-bound romantic, is on a 24-hour quest to change her mind. All of this happens in the bustling corners of New York City, which they both call their home.
Their fateful love story unravels in the movie installment of the bestselling, highly-acclaimed fiction novel, The Sun Is Also a Star. Written by Nicola Yoon, the book was #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers list and has received several awards such as Amazon’s Best Book of 2016 in YA and Entertainment Weekly’s 10 Best Books of 2016. Yoon has also published another bestseller called Everything, Everything.
Because of the above credentials, the movie was undoubtedly much-awaited by many. Aside from the typical young love the audience has been accustomed to when it comes to YA narratives, The Sun Is Also a Star also touches on topics some of us are hesitant to talk about. In the beginning of the film, we learn of Natasha’s dilemma: her family will be deported to Jamaica the following day. Today, she will do everything she can to turn her situation around.
Meanwhile, Daniel faces the following predicament: he is set for an interview that will earn him a ticket to Dartmouth, an Ivy League university, where – his family decided – he is to pursue an education in medicine. However, this isn’t exactly what Daniel wants for his life.
These predicaments, director Ry Russo-Young shares, give an urgency to storytellers who have the opportunity to share them – and these stories need to be shared now.
So, as Natasha scurries around New York City traveling from building to building and from meeting to meeting, Daniel, an equally pre-occupied teen, saves a distracted Natasha from being hit by a hurrying car. This, as revealed earlier, is the beginning of Daniel’s attempt to make Natasha believe in love. How? Daniel tries to make her fall in love with him.
The film is a visual tour of New York City, highlighting the city’s complicated subways and rushing pedestrians as the two main characters, played by Grown-ish’s Yara Shahidi and Riverdale’s Charles Melton, discover love in the concrete jungle. This opportunely highlights the gravity of the pair’s concerns – that in one of the world’s busiest cities, there are predicaments that often go unnoticed, often because it has silently become a norm.
Five years later, though separately, things fall into place for Natasha and Daniel, even if they both had to endure the pain of separation and the consequences of being apart. Natasha worked diligently for her return to the U.S. and Daniel bravely sett his own route. In the end, their paths meet once more, highlighting the popular anecdote: What’s meant to be will always find its way.
The Sun Is Also a Star is now playing in cinemas nationwide.