Wednesday, February 15, 2017
SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU (2016)
Written & Directed By: Richard Tanne
Cinematography By: Pat Scola
Editor: Evan Schiff
Cast: Tika Sumpter, Parker Sawyers, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Taylar Fondren
The film chronicles the summer 1989 afternoon when the future President of the United States, Barack Obama, wooed his future First Lady, Michelle Obama, on a first date across Chicago's South Side.
The focus on what it's not for once as it is a black romance that is not totally comedy.
It’s a very ambitious film a film that mixes fact and fiction, but tries to keep the subject matter simple and charming while sticking to most of the facts. Trying to keep the material fresh even though we know how it will end.
Nor is there an emphasis on sex at hooking up as a major part of the romance. We See the characters as smart and well respected. Even if at times the film falls into cliche perils as part of it's story line and charm though at least the film tries to give it more of a mature aspect to them.
It's something that is different a mature and more adult look at romance that is simple and complex. That deals with the future and more about making their way in the world. Through lifestyles and career ambitions.
Doesn't suffer the same fate as many it seems cliche romantic movies which have already been in the decline over the years. We are more served with romantic comedies which already usually weaken some movies by putting more emphasis on the comedy and then having a romantic scene here or there when we already have plenty comedies that have romantic scenes as side, LOVE story. I guess when it comes to romantic comedies at least half of the film will revolve around dating and romance or the love interest will be more than one dimensional and have character
Though unfortunately it seems in African American based ones it seems the focus is on the couple arguing most of the film which is meant to be seen as funny then finally get romantic towards the end or one or both characters being sex crazed. Which automatically feels more like something out of a sitcom rather than needed for a feature.
Which is why when a film like this feels like a rarity and it shouldn't it is so noted. When there are and should be plenty of films and stories like this out there. Like the individuals it portrays. As there are plenty of people out there like this but unfortunately only a few get the spotlight or more people get to know
Which might be why the Tyler Perry movies are so successful as they serve an audience that feels disenfranchised and that no one makes films for that audience as his are films that they see themselves not only represented in, but also speak more directly to them and their community. As his films at least seem tailor made or meant to be representative of his audience.
An imagined history based on The few facts we know about the Obamas first dates. That gives this film more of a pop culture glow but also a hook as to why audience might want to see it and is a little different than some others.
According to director Richard Tanne, all of the main events of the film did actually occur on the Obama's first date with the exception of the community meeting which happened at a later date. Obviously another BEFORE SUNRISE influenced film. as it is more about conversation, character and emotion. Though generalizing it that way would easily be a cop out as the film also adds it own touches to the romance as their day is more adventure filled.
As some romantic films have to be shown and filmed that way to showcase that initial spark and see the chemistry while the chemicals mix and start to bond. We understand why in the future even as challenged and frustrated they might be with one another. Why they stay together. So that there are plenty of situations to observe there differing opinions and points of view
While also showcasing it's own version of romance that is traditional and not necessarily
The same old. As every person' love story is similar but different and special to the couple or individual and this films honors that We get glimpses of their future greatness. For her we see the roots of it. How she wants to have her own career and be great. How he hasn't exactly decided what he wants to do but his belief in people, communities and America and how people naturally gravitate towards him. Both actors are believable as the Obama’s
Michelle comes off as someone trying to carve her own niche and life. Be independent and make her way in the world. Not looking to be defined by someone else. Not have anyone but herself take charge of their life
Barack as a confident young man who has taken the for rallying people and charismatic. It still not exactly sure about his future and defining himself