On the day when her family is facing deportation from the United States, Natasha (Yara Shahidi) has her life saved by Daniel Bae (Charles Melton). This is definitely a the day to fall in love, however the would-be poet in Daniel appeals to science grad Natasha to let him try. With a world of cultural and political obstacles against them, will the answer be in their stars or inside a denied green card application?
… a cross cultural love affair with its feet more on the ground than with its head in the clouds.
Director Ry Russo-Young’s deportation romance is a cross cultural love affair with its feet more on the ground than with its head in the clouds. Refreshingly spare of any excess saccharine, Natasha’s desire to remain in the US is more about New York than America itself. Addressing contrasting societal pressures, Daniel’s family want their boy to succeed as a doctor rather than acknowledge him as a writer and Natasha’s father has succumbed to a post-Trump fatalism of a country that no longer wants its immigrants (although this is given the lightest of touches).
In the lead roles, the highly photogenic Yara Shahidi and Daniel Bae both manage to escape the sheen of their movie poster appearances. Whilst the inevitable rollercoaster of romantic film lore demands that they be thrown together and then torn apart, the story’s dramatic beats are reasonably tuneful and mercifully not reminiscent of countless other trips into mawkishness.
Pivoting fatalism over factuality, there’s a reasonable spark to this romance even if the usual suspension of disbelief is required. Rather than a re-printed version of ‘Green Card’, ‘The Sun Is Also A Star’ is a more post-millennial take of immigration which neither places whimsy nor over-wrought drama at the centre of its colourful stage.
With a refreshing initial conclusion, ‘The Sun Is Also A Star’ fortunately doesn’t ask for the “stars and the moon as well” to quote the late-great Bette Davis. Treading a line between supplying something new and yet also delivering something established, Ry Russo-Young’s romantic tale weaves a quilted fairytale of New York that makes the most of its suitably extreme pretext.