The Sun Is Also a Star is a 2019 American teen drama film directed by Ry Russo-Young and written by Tracy Oliver, based on the young adult novel of the same name by Nicola Yoon. The film stars Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton, and follows a young couple who fall in love, while one of their families faces deportation.
It was theatrically released in the United States on May 17, 2019, by Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures. The film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $6.8 million worldwide.
Natasha lives in New York City with her parents Samuel and Patricia, and her brother Peter, all of whom are illegally in the country. Natasha and her family are set to be deported back to Jamaica. The day before her family must leave, Natasha goes to the immigration office and makes a tearful plea for her parents’ case. Lester Barnes, the Immigration Case Worker, gives Natasha the contact info for Jeremy Martinez, who can do pro bono work for her case. Natasha contacts Mr. Martinez’s office and, after pleading, is told she can meet with him for 15 minutes during his lunch break.
Daniel Bae is preparing for an interview for Dartmouth. While getting ready, he writes “Deus ex Machina” into his notebook. He comes from a Korean family, and his parents Dae Hyun and Min Soo encourage him to pursue a career as a doctor. His brother, Charles, is dismissive and rude to him.
Daniel and his friend Omar get on the subway into the same subway car as Natasha, and the train stalls. The conductor reassures the passengers over the speakers that everything is fine and begins telling a story about a friend who missed a train and, had he been on time that day, would have died in the 9/11 attacks since he worked at the World Trade Center. The conductor tells the passengers to “open your heart to destiny.” When Daniel and Omar get off at Grand Central Station, Daniel notices Natasha staring at the ceiling of Grand Central’s main lobby. He also notices her jacket, which reads “Deus ex machina,” a phrase he had been thinking about that morning. Daniel decides to go after her.
Daniel sees a car crash into a cyclist and narrowly saves Natasha from being hit. She is shaken, so they go somewhere to sit and talk. Natasha asks Daniel about his notebook, which he says is filled with poetry. Natasha dismisses the love poems and says she doesn’t believe in love. Daniel proposes he can make her fall in love with him in a day. Daniel gets a call saying his interview has been moved to the next day. Daniel tells Natasha about a love experiment in which couples ask each other a series of intimate questions and stare into each other’s eyes in silence for four minutes. They agree to answer several questions from the study.
Daniel escorts Natasha to Jeremy’s office, which they realize is in the same building where Daniel is set to have his interview. Natasha is told by Jeremy’s assistant that he got hit by a car while biking (the same car that almost hit Natasha) and is in the hospital, so their meeting is pushed to 4:30. Natasha continues to hang out with Daniel.
The two stop at a black haircare shop owned by Daniel’s parents, Daniel is embarrassed by his brother Charles, who belittles Daniel and Natasha, and Daniel’s father, who offers Natasha relaxers for her hair to make it “less big.” They go to a planetarium and a Korean karaoke bar, where Daniel sings “Crimson and Clover” to Natasha. Natasha imagines a life with her and Daniel together and they share their first kiss. Natasha remembers her appointment with Jeremy and rushes out of the karaoke bar upset. When Daniel chases after her, she reveals her family’s deportation. She goes to her meeting with Jeremy Martinez, who offers to set up a new trial for her parents’ case for the next day.
Daniel goes back to his parents’ shop, where he gets into a fight with Charles. After Daniel leaves, Natasha enters the shop and asks Charles for Daniel’s number. After seeing that she really likes Daniel, Charles gives her Daniel’s number. Natasha and Daniel reunite and take the cable car to Roosevelt Island, where they spend the night outside together.
The next morning, Daniel interviews for Dartmouth with Jeremy Martinez in his office. When Natasha barges in to ask about the verdict on her case, they realize that Daniel’s interviewer is Natasha’s lawyer. Jeremy tells Natasha that her case was rejected, and she and her family are still required to leave the country that day. When Natasha angrily leaves Jeremy’s office, Daniel cuts the interview short to go after her. He walks her home and meets her family before they head to the airport.
At the airport, Daniel and Natasha complete the last part of the experiment and maintain direct eye contact for four minutes without speaking. While they are staring, Natasha is shown returning to Jamaica and going to school, while Daniel attends Hunter College instead and works in a restaurant. The four minutes end and Natasha tells Daniel she loves him. He tearfully says his experiment worked.
Five years later, Natasha has returned to New York on her way to San Francisco for grad school. She meets Jeremy in the same coffee shop that she went to with Daniel. She catches up with him and learns that Jeremy married the doctor who treated him for his bicycle crash on the day they met. Natasha asks him about Daniel, but Jeremy says he hasn’t seen him since the interview. After Jeremy leaves, Natasha prepares to leave and hears Daniel’s voice in the coffee shop, preparing to read a poem. She turns around to see Daniel. Daniel asks to spend time with Natasha, who tells him she only has an hour. They kiss.
Yara Shahidi as Natasha Kingsley
Hill Harper as Lester Barnes
Charles Melton as Daniel Jae Ho Bae
Gbenga Akinnagbe as Samuel Kingsley
Jake Choi as Charles Bae
John Leguizamo as Jeremy Martinez
Anais Lee as Young Natasha
Miriam A. Hyman as Patricia Kingsley
Jordan Williams as Peter Kingsley
Keong Sim as Dae Hyun Bae
Cathy Shim as Min Soo Bae
Shamika Cotton as Hannah
Camrus Johnson as Omar HassabalaProduction
Filming began on June 19, 2018. In June, Camrus Johnson was cast to play Omar in the film, and on June 29, 2018, Miriam A. Hyman also joined the cast, as Natasha's mother Mrs. Kingsley, a hard-working Jamaican-born waitress who is resigned to her family's imminent deportation. In July 2018, Cathy Shim was cast to play Min Soo Bae, a Korean immigrant in the film.Herdis Stefánsdóttir composed the score for the film, while Dustin O'Halloran served as score producer. The soundtrack was released at Sony Classical.
The Sun Is Also a Star grossed $5 million in the United States and Canada, and $1.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $6.8 million, against a production budget of $9 million.In the United States and Canada, the film was released on May 17, 2019 alongside John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and A Dog's Journey, and was initially projected to gross $6–12 million from 2,037 theaters in its opening weekend. However, after making $1 million on its first Friday, estimates were lowered to $3 million. It ended up debuting to $2.5 million, one of the worst-ever openings for a film playing in over 2,000 theaters.
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 51% based on 100 reviews, with an average rating of 5.71/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "The Sun Is Also a Star has a pair of easy-to-love leads, but tests the audience's affection with a storyline that strains credulity past the breaking point." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it 2.5 out of 5 stars.Amy Nicholson of Variety wrote: "this crowd-pleaser convinces us to spend one day savoring an American Dream."
The Sun Is Also a Star at IMDb