Writer/director Richard Tanne's "Southside With You" is a sweet, wonderful, and romantic first date film. Yes the characters are iconic, but they're written in such a way that their life and struggle resonate with any two people just trying to get to know each other. Great performances by its two leads, Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter, "Southside With You" is a rare gem. The story loosely recounts how Barack and Michelle Robinson first met in the summer of 1989. Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers) was just a young law firm associate and Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter) is a tough lawyer who's supposed to mentor him. But Barack has an agenda, he's trying to woo Michelle who herself is not interested in the prospect of dating, she has ambition career. But the long day of them hanging out together from the art institute to watching a movie ultimately leads to their first kiss. One of the many things I love about this film is that it feels so disarming, so relaxed, your guards are down because you don't have to expect some big spectacle to show up from around the corner. It's just two people walking and talking, like Richard Linklater's "Before Sunrise," and so you're invested in the characters, you get to know them just as they themselves get to know each other. There's some big themes tackled in "Soutside With You" like Michelle Robinson feeling angry because the fact that she's a woman and she's black may give her obstacles in her career, and Barack is angry at her biological father having left him and his mom, so there are deeply rooted personal issues that audiences can relate to, which makes these iconic characters all the more human, and writer/director Richard Tanne approaches in a calmed, subtle yet firm and profound manner. And part of its success is also because actors Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers are more focused on creating the characters written on the pages of the script as opposed to mimicking, so the result that you get is the embodiment of these character's essence, not impersonation, not caricature. And I love how it doesn't fall into the generics of Hollywood rom-com where there's usually lots of gags and other attempts that try too hard to make you laugh. "Southside With You" is just a sweet little film that helps you breathe, you watch it and your stress level goes down. Despite your political views or what you may think of President Obama's administration, when you watch "Southside With You," I guarantee you'll fall in love with it right away. -- Rama's Screen --
Southside with You
Southside With You chronicles a single day in the summer of 1989 when the future president of the United States, Barack Obama, wooed his future First Lady on an epic first date across Chicago's South Side.
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