Natasha (Yara Shahidi) is a Jamaican immigrant whose family is one day away from being deported. Daniel (Charles Melton) is a proud South Korean-American forced by his parents to attend an “important” admissions interview at Dartmouth. She believes that love isn’t a provable fact; he vows to get her to fall for him scientifically. A single, stunning pan inside of Grand Central Terminal first unites our lovers in the same shot, if not in the same frame. For a guy who spends a good portion of his life railing against coincidence as a catalyst for action, director Ry Russo-Young and screenwriter Tracy Oliver offer a lucid argument for fate, not lazy plotting, as the prime motivating force behind this fetching update of Brief Encounter. I first became aware of Ms. Shahidi through her work in the criminally underrated satire, Butter. This is one of those rare instances of a performer giving free range to her natural instincts and emotions without a hint of pretense in sight. All this and a brief, concise history of the South Korean wig boom of the ‘80s. Why not devote two hours of your entertainment time to watching sensible characters fall in love rather than effects-driven averageness? (2019) — Scott Marks
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