The Sun Is Also a Star

The Sun Is Also a Star

2019, PG-13, 94 min. Directed by Ry Russo-Young. Starring Yara Shahidi, Charles Melton, John Leguizamo, Jake Choi, Camrus Johnson, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Miriam A. Hyman, Cathy Shim, Keong Sim.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., May 17, 2019

A Gen Z spin on Before Sunrise, complicated by U.S. immigration law, The Sun Is Also a Star pairs a pragmatic girl and a moony boy and gives them a day to fall in love. Only a day: After nine years living in New York on an expired visa, 17-year-old Natasha (Shahidi) and her family are being deported back to Jamaica. On her last day in America, still trying to find a legal way to stay, she crosses paths with an instantly smitten Daniel (Melton), who is en route to a college entrance interview and a future his Korean parents have already mapped out for him. It’s a fateful day for both of them, and Daniel – who would rather be a poet than a doctor – firmly believes destiny has brought them together.

There is much talk – so much talk – of destiny over the course of their daylong courtship. It’s really a matter of personal taste (and maybe age), deciding how much earnest speechifying about love is too much, and if Daniel’s intensity qualifies as terribly romantic or the kind of behavior that would set off warning bells for a savvy, New York-tough young woman. Then again, Melton’s smolder is so effective, you can imagine the curtains catching fire and not even noticing. He and Shahidi – both TV stars (on Riverdale and Grown-ish, respectively), both stunningly good-looking – convincingly act out the body language of two people on a first date, barreling their way toward first love.

In adapting Nicola Yoon’s YA novel, a 2016 National Book Award finalist, screenwriter Tracy Oliver (Girls Trip) sensitively articulates Yoon’s different angles on the immigrant experience, further updated to reflect the Trump administration’s draconian policy. Oliver is less successful at translating the novel’s seeming-digressions – into astronomy, the inner lives of background players, the histories of how their parents met and wooed – that subtly reinforced the book’s defining ideas of openness and interconnectivity (which are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from destiny). Oliver and director Ry Russo-Young (Before I Fall) cherry-pick a few of these digressions and give them an artful, collage-like treatment; they don’t go far enough to mask the skimpiness of the story, which has been whittled down to Natasha and Daniel almost exclusively. Eventually the young lovers get around to making out – like, a lot – which is perfectly nice to watch, but only adds to the feeling that this sweet, slack movie has run out of interesting things to say.

Showtimes

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Sun., May 26

CC/DVS 10:40am, 1:10, 3:40, 6:20

Mon., May 27

CC/DVS 10:40am, 1:10, 4:20, 6:50

Tue., May 28

CC/DVS 10:40am, 1:10, 3:40, 6:20

Wed., May 29

CC/DVS 10:40am, 1:10, 4:20, 6:50

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Sun., May 26

digital 9:55am, 3:55

Mon., May 27

digital 9:55am, 3:55

Tue., May 28

digital 1:15, 7:05

Wed., May 29

digital 9:55am, 3:55

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Sun., May 26

digital 10:50am

Mon., May 27

digital 10:50am

Tue., May 28

digital 10:50am

Wed., May 29

digital 10:50am

Sun., May 26

digital 9:50am, 10:40

Mon., May 27

digital 9:50am, 10:40

Tue., May 28

digital 12:50, 6:45

Wed., May 29

digital 12:50, 6:45

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Sun., May 26

digital 9:00am

Mon., May 27

digital 9:00am

Tue., May 28

digital 11:40am

Wed., May 29

digital 11:40am

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., May 26

digital 9:50am, 12:20, 5:20

Mon., May 27

digital 9:50am, 12:20, 5:20

Tue., May 28

digital 9:50am, 12:20, 5:20

Wed., May 29

digital 9:50am, 12:20, 5:20

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Sun., May 26

10:20

Mon., May 27

10:20

Tue., May 28

10:20

Wed., May 29

10:20

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Sun., May 26

11:30am, 4:30

Mon., May 27

10:30am, 12:50, 8:45

Tue., May 28

12:50, 8:45

Wed., May 29

11:30am, 4:30

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., May 26

CC/DVS 3:00, 6:15

Mon., May 27

CC/DVS 3:00, 6:15

Tue., May 28

CC/DVS 11:50am, 3:00

Wed., May 29

CC/DVS 12:15, 3:00, 6:15, 9:50

Thu., May 30

CC/DVS 12:15, 3:00

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Sun., May 26

1:15, 4:00

Mon., May 27

1:15, 4:00

Tue., May 28

1:15, 4:00

Wed., May 29

11:30am, 2:30

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Sun., May 26

CC/DVS 1:45, 4:15, 6:45

Mon., May 27

CC/DVS 1:30, 4:15, 6:45

Tue., May 28

CC/DVS 4:45

Wed., May 29

CC/DVS 4:45

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

Sun., May 26

10:50

Mon., May 27

8:00

Tue., May 28

8:10

Wed., May 29

8:10

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Sun., May 26

1:50, 4:15

Mon., May 27

10:10am, 1:50, 4:15

Tue., May 28

1:50, 4:15

Wed., May 29

1:50, 4:15

Thu., May 30

1:50, 4:15

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Sun., May 26

11:15am, 4:30

Mon., May 27

12:15, 2:45, 5:15, 8:00

Tue., May 28

12:15, 2:45, 5:15, 8:00

Wed., May 29

11:45am, 4:30

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., May 26

CC/DVS 10:35am, 6:00

Mon., May 27

CC/DVS 10:35am, 6:00

Tue., May 28

CC/DVS 12:20, 2:45, 5:15, 7:45, 10:10

Wed., May 29

CC/DVS 12:20, 2:45, 5:15, 7:45, 10:10

Thu., May 30

CC/DVS 11:45am, 2:15

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Ry Russo-Young Films
Before I Fall

Take a YA novel and a director like Ry Russo-Young with serious indie-film cred, and, if you’re lucky, you might wind up with something like ...

Marjorie Baumgarten, March 3, 2017

Nobody Walks
...

May 26, 2019

More by Kimberley Jones
Booksmart
The kids are better than alright in Olivia Wilde's raucous, resonant comedy

May 24, 2019

The Biggest Little Farm
Country life documentary may be an extended infomercial, but that can't dent its charm

May 17, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The Sun Is Also a Star, Ry Russo-Young, Yara Shahidi, Charles Melton, John Leguizamo, Jake Choi, Camrus Johnson, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Miriam A. Hyman, Cathy Shim, Keong Sim

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle