Movie Review: Southside with You

SouthsideWithYouPromotionalPosterIn the tradition of the talky and compelling Before Sunrise trilogy, a new movie takes a similar approach to the fateful first date of one of the most historic and captivating couples of modern times. Writer/director Richard Tanne’s Southside with You (A-) stars Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter as a young Barack and Michelle Robinson Obama, respectively, circa 1989 in Chicago. This slice of life – literally one day in the life – is buoyed by radiant performances by the two leads and a timeless tale of a young couple challenging each other to become their best selves. Sawyers brings charisma and persistence and Sumpter a fierce intelligence and drive to the love story. Both are indelible and delightful in the roles. The incidental nature of a first-date-in-the-making that involves a picnic, an art gallery, time in The Gardens, an organizing meeting, drinks, a screening of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and a trip to an ice cream parlor illuminates so much more about a future First Couple than a traditional montage-filled biopic ever could. It is a lovely story, gorgeously filmed and beautifully acted. It’s gimmick free and groundbreaking in its own way as a chronicle of history unfurling before our eyes.

 

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I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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Posted in 2016, Rent It Tonight
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  1. […] casting its spell into every corridor, from the early days of Barack and Michelle (the recommended Southside with You) to gay-themed stories of young love (Hugo & Theo). In Kirkman’s life-affirming entry in […]

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