Netflix's 'The Half Of It' Ending Explained: A sincere lesson on how to come out of the closet
Spoilers for Netflix's 'The Half of It'
In the opening scene for Netflix's coming-of-age movie 'The Half of It', inspired by 'Cyrano de Bergerac', protagonist Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) is clear about one thing — this is not a love story.
Ellie is a hardworking, intelligent girl who hustles in the small, quiet town of Squahamish by writing papers and assignments for her peers. And she actually surpasses herself with every paper (or so notes her teacher Mrs Geselschap played by Becky Ann Baker).
Always good with words, Ellie is, however, unable to fully express her emotions. When Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) first asks Ellie to write a letter on his behalf to Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire), she is quick to reject the plea. But in urgent need of money, she takes over the project.
One letter turns into two, then four and soon enough, Aster and Ellie begin to communicate through letters, where they talk about everything from literature and art to films and existentialism.
All this while, Aster is under the impression that she is talking to Paul — despite the fact that their in-person meetings are a mess. Even then, it is Ellie's words that come to Paul's rescue — taking charge and getting him out of his nervousness.
Aster is dating the most popular kid in the school Trig Carson (Wolfgang Novogratz). His family owns half of the town and to her family, mostly her father Deacon Flores (Enrique Murciano), it is a wedding prospect that mustn't be rejected.
The whole time, however, she feels like she cannot fully submit herself to that decision. At one point in the movie, she exclaims to Ellie how Trig is so sure about his decision to want to marry her. But her? Not so much. She places awe in Trig's decisiveness berating herself for being in the unknown.
Yet there is little doubt that Aster, somewhere, is intrigued by Ellie — it is visible in her eyes, and in fact, she doesn't try hiding her feelings.
The story is also set against the backdrop of religion — among other things. Aster, a believer in God and by the sheer virtue of her father being the deacon, finds it exceptionally difficult to convey how it is that she feels — to assign words to her feelings albeit of confusion and indecisiveness.
After spending an entire day with Ellie, Aster finds that she can be herself without the pressure of having to conform to any expectations — that she can simply be. When the truth is out — in a rather dramatic climax set in the church — she is wounded by the fact that Paul and Ellie together were in on this rude together.
However, she also admits that it's not like she wasn't somewhere aware of it. She nursed a feeling deep inside that it could have been Ellie who was behind all those heartfelt letters they exchanged and not Paul.
And while she continues to foster feelings of animosity towards Ellie, their final conversation is indicative of the long journey she is yet to embark on.
Before Ellie took up Paul's request, she hadn't found the words for her feelings. She knew what and who she was, but after putting into words and writing those letters to Aster, she found the reality more accepting. Which prompted her to come out with her feelings for her.
Aster, on the other hand, now has a long way to go. They bid farewell on the promise that they will see each other in a few years time — perhaps by then, Aster would have found ner own words.
'The Half of It' is a wonderfully made movie by Alice Wu that conveys to its young audience a sincere message — take your time to take the big step, there is no rushing in the realm of love.
'The Half Of It' is currently streaming on Netflix.