Friday, August 26

REVIEW: Southside with You

Directed by Richard Tanne
2016 Romance Biography
1 hour, 24 minutes
From Miramax &
Roadside Attractions

Tika Sumpter
Parker Sawyers
My fellow Americans.  You Republicans.  You disaffected Republicans especially.  I don't usually want to do you any favors but allow me to do one now.  Stop reading this at once.  Don't read another word.  You won't like any of them.  These are some bad times for you and I hate to add to them.  So long...

Are they gone?

No?  Some linger?  Well, alright then, for you folks.  Don't see this movie.  It is truly not for you.  I ain't lyin'.  Unquestionably one's take on this will run along party lines.  If you are not a fan of the Obamas, avoid this like the plague.  If you're a guy who doesn't like love stories and if your wife is a Democrat, send her to the movie while you grab a Bud and a buddy and throw around a football. I'm just trying to make everyone happy.

I was happy today.  My partner and I might have been the only males at our matinee and two of the few whites but as a group, we were all connected.  Why?  Because we are suckers for a tender story of how Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson met.  When the film ended, I heard cries of oh noooo and more... more.  I could have actually enjoyed another half hour.  On the other hand, maybe all we really needed was a glimpse, albeit it an intimate one, and the magical couple floated away in the dream state in which they seemed to arrive.

The time frame is one day and we meet two coworkers at a law firm, her a sharp-tongued attorney and him an associate, who spend the day together roaming around Chicago's South Side.  He thinks it's a date; she clearly does not.  When the film ends at the end of their day, they are feeling pretty good and so are we.

I have not read biographies on either of them so I was not as well acquainted with some specifics as others may be.  I am familiar with some other things and found myself a little surprised that a few things were discussed.  

She is portrayed as laser-focused, an angry person, rigid and rather humorless, (although not unlikable).  It may have something to do with having to pedal as fast as she feels she must as a black woman in a white man's law firm and living with a father who has MS.  We can see that she was very much her future husband's equal from the first day.

He has some anger issues as well, which stem from his father deserting the family. Hearing about it actually brought a lump to my throat because I could clearly see his vulnerability.  His ears were discussed and his cigarette smoking, frequent as it was, showed he usually lit up when he got nervous.  The film didn't ignore his earlier marijuana use either.

The narrative was shaped around these two icons learning about one another in such a personal way.  They're learning and so are we.  Such fun.  I've spent the hours since wondering how true it all is v.s. how much Hollywood dolled it up.  But given who they are, I must assume it's true or the essence is.  It would seem someone would be squawking in the White House if it were too much fiction.

Director Tanne also wrote it and I heap praise on him for making it seem honest, not corny, or allowing either character to be vague.  I learned something and had a real good time doing it.  

At the center, of course, are the two leads. Both are new faces to me but let's face it, that makes portraying the Obamas all that much better.  Parker Sawyers looks like he could be related to Obama... the resemblance is uncanny.  I got a few goosebumps watching him bring to cinematic life one of my favorite presidents.  Tika Sumpter, also one of the many producers, seemed spot-on portraying my all-time favorite first lady, showing her spunk, intelligence and drive.

I can't help but think what an unusual film this is too... quite original in its way.  Have we ever seen a big-screen romance about the earliest time of a sitting U.S. President and his lady?  I don't think so (and hope to hear from you if I'm mistaken) but then I think that's a tribute to the special fascination that is Barack and Michelle Obama. 

It's not a bad date movie at all for you romantic liberals.  Despite who it's about, it's just downright charming in its display of the world of wooing.

Next posting:
The Directors

No comments:

Post a Comment