The Sun Is Also a Star Parent Guide
An improbable plot rendered enjoyable by the charm and magnetic screen presence of the lead actors.
Parent Movie Review
Is it possible to fall in love with someone in just one day? Daniel Bae (Charles Melton) certainly thinks so. Mesmerized by Natasha Kingsley (Yara Shahidi), who he has just met, he bets he can make her fall in love with him in 24 hours – or one, if time is limited. Natasha, a hard-headed realist, doesn’t believe in love, let alone instant love. But Daniel assures her that if she answers carefully selected questions, they will fall for each other. What Daniel doesn’t know is that he is racing against the clock in more ways than one: Natasha and her family are undocumented immigrants and are scheduled to be deported on the following day.
The Sun Is Also a Star brings new meaning to “whirlwind romance”. Whether audiences buy into the plot will depend almost entirely on their belief in the premise of instant attraction. Hardcore romantics will likely swoon over the dreamy gazes and sun-washed montages. More skeptical viewers will see the attraction but wonder about its staying power. Throughout the film, I kept ruminating on late night discussions with my university roommates when we hashed out the differences between “falling in like”, “falling in lust”, and “falling in love.” And I thought that the charming young protagonists in this film would benefit from a similar conversation.
Parents may well be delighted to have a movie like this to use as a springboard for similar chats with their teens. And they will be relieved to know that The Sun Is Almost a Star is one of the cleanest teen romantic dramas to hit the big screen recently. It features minimal swearing, no drug or alcohol use, and one fistfight. Even sexual content is limited to embracing, kissing, and one make-out session where the young couple remain fully clothed. The film’s biggest downside isn’t related to content but is its cinematography, overly reliant on blurry footage, jerky camera work, and way too many swooping aerial shots of New York City. The movie is about ten minutes too long and cutting down on this footage would kill two birds with one stone.
Despite the movie’s irksome cinematography and improbable plot, it’s still an enjoyable viewing experience for fans of romantic drama, and that is entirely due to the cast. Charles Melton and Yara Shahidi have a magnetic screen presence and real chemistry, which compensates for the occasionally awkward dialogue and the moments where the acting can feel a bit studied. The young couple have such vibrant energy and such unbelievable good looks that it is almost impossible to tear one’s eyes away from the screen. Melton’s intense, yearning gaze and Shahidi’s wide-eyed, expressive face project so much emotion that it’s almost palpable.
The film begins with Natasha saying, “I always believed it would take a lifetime to understand the human heart. In the end, all it took was a single day.” Whether falling in love can happen in a day is a matter of opinion. But that the events of a day can change the way we see the world and ourselves is the real take away from this touching little film.Directed by Ry Russo-Young. Starring Yara Shahidi, Charles Melton, and Jake Choi. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release May 17, 2019. Updated May 16, 2019
Watch the trailer for The Sun Is Also a Star
The Sun Is Also a Star
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Sun Is Also a Star rated PG-13? The Sun Is Also a Star is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some suggestive content and language Parents Guide: Add content advisory for parents »
Violence: Two young men push, punch and kick each other. One winds up with a cut on his lip; the other with a cut on his face.
Sexual Content: A young man and woman repeatedly embrace and kiss, sometimes passionately. In one scene, the embrace becomes more passionate, and the young woman climbs on top of the man who caresses her. They remain fully clothed throughout. A couple fall asleep together in a park; no sexual activity is implied.
Profanity: Fewer than a dozen mild and moderate profanities, with one sexual expletive. A crude slang term for male genitalia is used along with a mention of size.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted.
Page last updated May 16, 2019
The Sun Is Also a Star Parents' Guide
Daniel bets Natasha that he can make her fall in love with him in a day. Psychologist Arthur Aron has suggested that if two people answer 36 questions, the resulting intimacy can lead to love. Do you think this is possible?
Do you think people can fall in love at first sight or even in a day? Do you think there is a difference between love, attraction, interest, or infatuation? How can you tell the difference?
Natasha is a “dreamer”. There are up to three million “dreamers” in the United States – undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children. They are referred to as Dreamers because of the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), which was introduced in the Senate on a bipartisan basis in 2001. The bill would give qualifying undocumented youth legal status, allow them to pursue higher education or work and would provide a path to citizenship. The act failed to pass and has failed on subsequent attempts. In 2012, President Barack Obama introduced the DACA policy (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) that would allow dreamers to receive work permits with deferrals against deportation. Since his election in 2016, President Donald Trump has threatened to cancel DACA.
The issue of the dreamers is a complex one. What do you think? Do you think dreamers should have a path to citizenship? Or do you think they should be deported? Why? Do you know any dreamers or other undocumented immigrants? Have you heard their stories?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Educated in the US, dreamers have the tools to succeed. Julissa Arce has shared her story in My (underground) American Dream: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive.
What happens to dreamers who get deported to their countries of origin? Dan Kanstroom looks for answers in Aftermath: Deportation Law and the New American Diaspora
Some of the millions of dreamers are organizing to protest their unsettled status. Eileen Truax recounts their struggles in Dreamers An Immigrant Generation’s Fight for Their American Dream.
Related home video titles:
Immigration problems provide plots for many other films. In The Proposal, a woman proposes to an employee so she can remain in the US after her visa expires.
Under the Same Moon tells the story about Rosario, working as an illegal immigrant in the US, and her nine-year-old son who sets out on a dangerous journey to find her.
Sudanese refugees face challenges as they adjust to life in the USA in The Good Lie.