Mark Llobrera

The Half of It

Not everything in this movie works — see Emily VanDerWerff’s post about the ending, for some thoughts on why — but I enjoyed it overall, and it’s great to see Alice Wu making movies again. I watched her first film (Saving Face) not long ago, unaware that she hadn’t made another feature since. The New York Times had a feature story that dove into some of that history. Vulture also had a good interview with Wu.

Nitpicking about the plot aside, though — I loved some of these shots from a sequence in the second half of the film:

Two characters float in water, their heads appearing to touch.
Image © Netflix.
Layered shot with reflection in the water seeming to touch the foreground character’s face.
The layers here! Blurred out foreground, touching a reflection from the in-focus background, like an upside-down kiss. Image © Netflix.
Mirroring faces, almost like a landscape.
Image © Netflix.

I like the way that Wu uses perspective and the reflection from the water to frame the two characters so that they seem to be touching and mirroring each other. I found that stripping out the color helped me see the forms/composition a little bit easier:

Black and white version of the first image.
Image © Netflix.
Black and white version of the second image.
Image © Netflix.
Black and white version of the third image.
Image © Netflix.