• Guy Jeffries

Southside With You Review


Director: Richard Tanne.

Starring: Parker Sawyers, Tika Sumpter.

Richard Tanne writes and directs his first feature film based on the would-be president Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson's first date during the summer of '89 in Chicago. Not your typical movie about a president but not the first unusual presidential movie this year, the other being Elvis & Nixon.

It's an interesting angle to take, giving us a good insight of the man and woman that would eventually be the President and First Lady. It is in fact difficult to watch without thinking of the courting couple as already Husband and Wife, and world leaders

The opening credits doesn't really match the film or the promotional poster that accompany the movie, adding a funky eighties style, something you might expect from an eighties movie or TV series, however, I suppose it helps sets time to a not-to-distant history.

This could be a massive breakthrough for Parker Sawyers, who plays the ambitious, intelligent and charming Barack Obama. Capturing his mannerisms, voice and vocal style near-on perfectly. Though, it's debatable that his uncanny physical resemblance to the current president might help considerably.

Barack Obama is definitely my favourite president and I'm actually sad to see him leave the White House, however, without getting too political, this film makes me like him ever more, especially showing his trait for always being late. (cue Gandalf) It displays his humility, his infectious empowerment and his direct-approach honesty, though honesty can always been a matter of opinion.

Tika Sumpter plays Michelle Robinson, Barack's legal mentor who was the summer associate of the same law firm. I don't know enough about Michelle Obama but this gave a broad insight to here conventional home life and her experiences of gender discrimination within the workplace. I can only assumed Sumpter does the First Lady justice as she is a head-strong, realistic yet stubborn and enthusiastic character. Her coining of "cosmic justice" struck a chord with me, showing that whilst she's highly academic, there's a hint of something spiritual about her.

Tanne's directions is good, plotting key locations and setting a wonderful pace and balance that reminded me a lot of Richard Linklater's "Before" films, being heavily concentrated on the script and following the conversation of the two. What's also quite impressive is that the film was shot in only 15 days.

Knowing that Do The Right Thing was the first film they went to the pictures to see was nice to see, Spike Lee's controversial masterpiece, showing the key scene with Radio which is more so iconic today, alas losing Radio star, Bill Nunn only last month.

The soundtrack didn't quite mix, especially as modern songs were used, such as John Legend's "Start" that was written solely for the film, who also happens to be one of the producers behind the movie. However Stephen James Taylor does a beautiful, minimalism score that really creates the romantic mood.

The film is captivating, inspirational and a great first date movie regardless of who the key characters are. It's a worthy watch for people who are fans of great conversation. I do wonder what President And First Lady Obama think of this portrayal.

Running Time: 8

The Cast: 9

Performance: 9

Direction: 9

Story: 9

Script: 9

Creativity: 10

Soundtrack: 7

Job Description: 8

The Extra Bonus Point: 0

Buying the Blu-ray?: Hmm, maybe.

78% 8/10

#RichardTanne #ParkerSawyers #TikaSumpter #StephenJamesTaylor