There are days when everything goes as planned – because there is a plan, a structure, maybe a routine. Then there are days when you have no idea what is going to happen next, even with the best laid plans and the most sincere of intentions.
I’m having one of those days.
Without getting into details, it just means that I find myself sitting on a sofa with the recliner open, a bottle of wine next to me, and a movie streaming courtesy of Google Play. Of all the movies and all the television shows available, I stumbled upon one highly underrated flick called “The Sun Is Also A Star.”
“There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will.” – Nicola Yoon, The Sun Is Also a Star
Directed by Ry Russo-Young (Before I Fall), the film is based on the acclaimed bestseller by Everything, Everything author Nicola Yoon. The Sun Is Also A Star has been on the New York Times bestseller list since its release and has received multiple accolades, including: 2016 National Book Award Finalist; Amazon’s Best Book of 2016 in YA; Amazon’s Top 20 Children’s Books of 2016 in YA; the New York Times Notable Children’s Books of 2016; and Entertainment Weekly’s 10 Best Books of 2016.
So what’s it all about?
The movie follows two people through a day in their lives in New York. They each have major changes coming down the path in their lives. One is waiting for an interview with Dartmouth; he’s first generation and his South Korean family is counting on his success. The other is waiting for an appointment with an immigration lawyer, and her family is counting on her success as well.
While the story is mostly fictional, the premise is very real. These two characters, Daniel Bae and Natasha Kingsley, have met, and in a very short matter of time, they have become quite smitten with each other. Daniel calls it fate, destiny; it’s the “x-factor,” and they totally have it, no doubt. Natasha, she doesn’t believe in any of those things. If it can’t be observed, measure, and replicated, then Natasha doesn’t believe in it. Natasha says that love does not exist, which only fuels Daniel in wanting to prove otherwise. We all know where this is going. No one said the movie wasn’t predictable, of course it is. What makes the movie is everything that happens between the beginning and the end. It literally gave me chills, and I am totally okay with that meaning I may indeed be a sap.
“I don’t believe in love. ‘It’s not a religion,’ he says. ‘It exists whether you believe in it or not.’” ― Nicola Yoon, The Sun Is Also a Star
I needed more.
The movie rushes by fast, and is far too far-fetched due to the whirlwind of emotion that is sure to happen between to young people falling in love. I realize movies have a time limit. The story between two people torn apart due to flawed immigration policies, that’s something which cannot accurately be depicted in a two-hour movie.
Many have said that Natasha and Daniel, played by Yara Shahidi (Black-ish & Grown-ish) and Charles Melton (Riverdale), have no chemistry. I completely 110% disagree with that statement. These two have LOADS of chemistry. They have made this single girl pine for a possible romance, and I haven’t cared about dating in YEARS! Yes, I realize the wine might have something to do with this, but I really think it is this story, this movie, this young love.
Throughout the first 100 minutes of the movie, you are filled with hope. As a viewer, you really start to believe that Natasha and her family will be allowed to stay in America. So lemme just tell you, make sure the tissues are nearby when you get to the 100-minute marker. Because it’s not simple, and it’s not all fluff and rainbows. Some people can live and work in this country for decades, and then they are told they must leave, that they are no longer welcome to stay. It doesn’t matter how thick their folder of paperwork might be. It doesn’t matter when the process began. Because the policies are always changing, and the people writing the policies, well, they’ve never been on the other side.
So. in regards to the movie, I’ll end with this…
“If people who were actually born here had to prove they were worthy enough to live in America, this would be a much less populated country.”
Sometimes, all we have, is a single day.
Public service announcement from Christy, yours truly: My great-grandparents came to the US from Italy. I would not be here if it were not for two amazing immigrants.
I have friends who have gone through the process of becoming a citizen. It is expensive, it is time consuming, and it requires the resources of both time and a lawyer, which requires money. It. Is. Not. Easy.
These people pay taxes. These people work hard. Many families include children who are brought into the US before they are adults, and they go through schools, they go to college, they become employees at prestigious locations only to receive a letter stating they will be deported. It. Is. Not. Fair.
There are PLENTY of people who are born in the US who cause far more trouble for our country than immigrants who are fleeing something terrible in their home countries.
The criminalization of immigration is disdainful. When someone can live in a country as a permanent resident – for decades – before being deported, there is a problem. This is such a common problem that it has led to the coining of a new word, crimmigration. If you’re interested in learning more, read this article posted on August 9, 2019: “Harvard Law Crimmigration Clinic is moving the needle on the criminalization of immigration.”
Perhaps even more disdainful are the ICE raids which impact young children who find that their parents have been detained while they were in school. [Source: Clarion Ledger]
“No standard moral framework, be it utilitarian, libertarian, egalitarian, Rawlsian, Christian, or any other well-developed perspective, regards people from foreign lands as less entitled to exercise their rights—or as inherently possessing less moral worth—than people lucky to have been born in the right place at the right time.” – Alex Tabarrok