The Half of It is a new Netflix original directed by Alice Wu, a teen rom-com where a shy student tries to help a jock woo a girl whom they both like. Via Vulture:
The romantic comedy was never really supposed to be original. The genre has a few simple narrative templates, many of them several centuries old. Cinematically speaking, artistry and charm are found, instead, in elements like atmosphere, style, wit, or chemistry. And, of course, the honesty with which a film handles that central force of all human existence: desire. Alice Wu’s The Half of It is a fine example of all this. It’s yet another riff on Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, one of the most overused comic-romantic prototypes of all time, but it’s so tenderhearted and transporting, its characters so likable, that you can’t help but want to give the movie and everyone in it a big hug.
The story takes place in a Pacific Northwestern town called Squahamish (pronounced like you might say “squeamish” while a sneeze is coming on) and follows one Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis), a Chinese-American straight-A student who’s developed a small cottage industry writing her not terribly bright classmates’ essays for them. Ellie is so much smarter than everyone else that her English teacher is well aware of the girl’s side gig; the teacher just allows it because the alternative, reading these dopes’ actual essays, would be so much worse.