Love is not real, according to Natasha Kingston, the main character of the film “The Sun is Also A Star.”
She doesn’t believe in fate, magic or any of the gushy stuff associated with romance. However, that changes when she meets a moonstruck high schooler determined to make her fall in love with him – in just one day.
In the teen romance, adapted from Nicola Yoon’s bestselling young adult novel of the same name, Kingston, played by Yara Shahidi, and Daniel Bae, portrayed by Charles Melton, randomly meet on one of the most important days of each of their lives.
While Bae, a Korean American, is preparing for a big interview with Darthmouth College to become a doctor despite his passion for poetry, Kingston, a Jamaican American, is headed to a meeting with an immigration lawyer to try to prevent her family’s deportation.
Snagging a boyfriend is not on Kingston’s to-do list, so when Bae challenges her to fall in love with him, she is skeptical.
“Natasha relies on facts,” Shahidi explained in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But you end up finding out that is her sort of irrational love. When you hear her passion for Carl Sagan or her absolute admiration for science, it comes from this place of love. She’s a walking paradox in that sense, because she is pragmatic but holds that very irrational side of her that makes her so driven.”
The flick mirrors Yoon’s real life in some ways. The author, who also penned the book-turned-movie “Everything, Everything,” emigrated from Jamaica to America when she was 11. She also married a Korean American, who grapples with her about God, art, science and love just like the characters in her movie. But she’s certainly not as practical as Kingston.
“I’m a total romantic goober,” she admitted with a laugh. “I am completely in love with my husband. But one of the things that happens when you fall so in love with a person is that you’re terrified all the time, if you’re like me, that something bad is going to happen. Against that tension, I have to remind myself to stay open. Being in this open place with this love is the best thing.”
Yoon’s love story is one Shahidi admires. Their love affair mirrors that of her parents, she said. When her mother spotted her father from across a room, her mom thought, ‘Oh my goodness! That’s my husband.”
It was a love at first sight moment, and Melton has had a few of those encounters. He admitted he’s even uttered the words “I love you” after one day of meeting someone on several occasions.
“I say the words ‘I love you’ a lot to be honest,” he confessed. “I don’t just throw it out loosely. I really do believe in love. I believe there are many layers to love. You have a platonic love. You have a friendship love. There’s so many different kinds.”
But film’s actors aren’t necessarily trying to convince audiences whether or not love is real. They’re striving to tell a story about connection and the importance of finding your place in the universe.
“The choice we make. The path we choose. We don’t have forever,” Kingston says in the film. “All we have is a single day.”
“The Sun is Also A Star”
Starring Yara Shahidi, Charles Melton. Directed by Ry Russo-Young.
Rated PG-13 for suggestive content and language. 1 hour, 40 minutes.
Check here for Atlanta movie showtimes for “The Sun is Also a Star.”
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