Friday, August 5, 2016

Southside with You: Obamas' love story opens this month

I was so deep in the academic hole for the first six months of the year that I completely missed news about the movie Southside with You, the story of Michelle and Barack Obama's romance. The film pays homage to the president and First Lady's initial courtship and opens in limited release August 26. So, I'll be scouting websites, Twitter, creating a Google alert, whatever I can do so I can't miss the film when it comes to New Orleans.

Produced by singer/songwriter John Legend and written and directed by Richard Tanne, the movie premiered with good reviews at the Sundance Festival in January. Based on the trailer, I'll say it's a winner already.

I remember one of the first times I heard a story about the first couple's courtship and said, "Sounds like a romance novel or a romantic comedy." I believe at least one of those times I was watching the Oprah Winfrey Show. Their love story made me happy because we don't hear enough, read enough, or see enough stories about healthy, black, romantic relationships.

Tika Sumpter, a young actress who became much more visible after appearing in Tyler Perry's soap opera on OWN, makes a wonderful Michelle Obama based on what I see in the trailer. I don't know much about Parker Sawyers' work (He plays Barack.), but I do recall him in The Assets TV show. He also is believable in the trailer.

The first couple was not consulted about the making of the film, but according to Tanne, they're aware of it, are excited about the movie, but "baffled by its existence." In a Vanity Fair interview, the writer/director says he gathered all his information from public domain sources, probably the Oprah show and other interviews with the Michelle and/or Barack. He thinks his script is mostly accurate. From what I 've seen, he's caught the warmth and humor of the stories as I recall them.

I've already subscribed to Fandango news to make sure I get a ticket. I mean, Southside with You better show here.

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