“Saving Face” Director Alice Wu Is Bringing a Lesbian Teen Rom-Com to Netflix

It was just this morning that we here at Autostraddle were talking about Netflix’s latest entry into its quickly growing POC-led rom-com canon, Someone Great, which features a black lesbian BFF in the laugh out loud comedy. Two summers ago, Netflix added a lesbian BFF to yet another POC-led rom-com, this time The Incredible Jessica James. We wondered, when was Netflix going to finally move all these lesbians from the requisite “best friend role” and let them be the leading lady ready to woo other ladies that we all deserve?

Well, praise the queer heavens, ask and you shall receive! This very afternoon Netflix has announced the production of its newest teen comedy Half Of It, a modern take on Cyrano de Bergerac where a hapless high school jock hires the nerdy girl in school to write love letters to the girl they both secretly love.

If you remember your own high school or college English classes and are already familiar with Cyrano de Bergerac, then you know how this tale ends – in the original, the object of their affection falls for the letter writer instead. Which means we have a real teenage lesbian love story on our hands!


The two lead girls in question? Both are going to be played by women of color! Leah Lewis will play Chinese American Ellie Chu and Alexxis Lemire will play her potential love interest, Aster Flores.

So, now we have two girls of color falling for each other on the big (errr, streaming) screen.


The director of this film? None other than Alice Wu. Why do you feel like you’ve heard that name before? Because she’s  the director of the iconic lesbian film Saving Face, a 2004 romantic comedy about two Asian American 20somethings falling in and out of love in New York that’s already burned out the DVDs and streaming queue of every young gay pop culture nerd who’s looked to find herself on screen.


I have nothing left to say. I can only speak in skull emojis. Because I am so overwhelmed with joy at this news that I am surely no longer speaking to you from this earthly plane.

Watch out 2019 – lesbian, bisexual, and queer women are coming for you! We’re coming for your feature films, your television series, and yes your Saturday afternoon “watch in my PJs with a homemade mimosa in a coffee mug” Netflix original movies. We are taking no prisoners.

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Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 712 articles for us.


  1. This is hands down my favorite movie news I’ve heard since Molly Shannon signed on to play Emily Dickinson.

  2. AHHH! Cannot express the extreme burst of joy this news brings! I remember watching Saving Face for the first time in my bedroom in the dark late at night with earbuds, ready to close the laptop screen at a moment’s notice. Things have changed a lot since then, and I’m so glad young Asian Americans will be able to see this on their screens. :)

  3. ahh!! yes!!! saving face is possibly my favorite lesbian movie and this is just such good news!!!!

  4. Saving face might be my perfect sad day move and I can’t wait until this hits Netflix. I am 8% less angry about One Day at a Time after hearing this but only 8%.

  5. Saving Face is one of my top 4 lesbian movies (on a list that really hasn’t changed since 2005). I can’t wait to watch this on my gf’s netflix account since I canceled mine after they cancelled One Day At a Time.

    Side note–haven’t missed netflix. This is this first time I’ve even thought about it in over a month.

  6. This is literally everything I wanted and didn’t know I needed!!! Saving Face is definitely on my top 3 of lesbian movies, so I couldn’t be more excited. I’m SO glad there’s a generation of queer girls that’s gonna grow up with movies like this on such an accessible platform and with storylines that we’re used to seeing only with straight people :’)

  7. This is seriously such great news. As a queer Asian American gal pal loving person, I cannot waittttt!!!! Yassssssss!

  8. As for my whole life, I always hope for the queerest outcome possible. Lately the universe suggests I mght receive a lot. Yay!

  9. So glad ALICE WU is getting the recognition she deserves.
    We stan a legendary POC director!!!
    If you’re reading this Alice, please know that I love you, and my queer Asian American upbringing would have never been fully realized without “Saving Face”.

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