Mega hats off to the writer producer director whomever who influenced the shaping/finalizing the new film "Southside With You" to only 84 minutes. At the end of the day, this film simply tells the story of the first date of President Barack Obama and then Michelle Robinson. Yes, that is all the film is about and 84 minutes is plenty to share this sweet romance and hence IT WORKS.
Robinson was a lawyer in a Chicago Law Firm while Obama was a summer intern and she was his advisor in the summer of 1989.
The two leads Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter, who were unknown to me, do a remarkable job of capturing certain important essences these two very high profile Americans.
Sawyers looks like and has speaking mannerisms of now President Obama. But he doesn't try to mimic his oratory style, tone, etc. so you don't become distracted trying to compare. I love the we learn that he was (maybe still is) quite a habitual smoker and that drove a real junker of car back in the day. He wasn't sugar coated and we got direct insight into his understanding of people, government, family, and the less served population, specifically African American. His gift of oration and interpersonal skills with all races, sexes, creed etc is on full display and impressive as he does so without forgetting his roots. He understands the social and societal games that need to be played, nuanced etc. to move forward issues in a peaceful way.
Sumpter does a magnificent job of capturing the maturity and sweetness of Michele Robinson Obama while melding in her academic prowess and understanding of the games she has to play. Female, African-American, intelligent, attractive and old school. She is fully aware of all the extra steps she had to take to reach her level and was immensely aware of the fragility of her position with one simple mis-step.
At the end of the day, this is a wonderful romance that achieves magic in its simplicity. NO DOUBT, everybody in the theatre "wanted more" than just that one date/day. This yearning left one maybe a tad disappointed but wanting more is a good thing.
I stayed for the entire credits to look for an references to the accuracy of this story, any film credits to the Obama's (did they tell this story to someone); did they see the film and/or help with editing; what did they think of it; what did their most impressive daughters think of it. Nothing mentioned which added to the feeling of "wanting more".
It is going to be most fascinating to see historically societies reflection on both the Obama couple as well as the Obama presidency. No doubt today, there are fiery passions on both sides. But what is so clear in his roots and in his orations and policies today, they both house this genuine kindness & empathy to the less served. Us fossils can recall the angst towards President Carter towards the end of his Presidency, maybe some ire at his seemingly weak vs confrontation nature. Here some 35 years later, the Carters still hold true to their values and their dedications to social issues. I'll bet you a nickel that his approval rating is much higher now than when he left office as is the respect he is given.
Definitely a film worth seeing (won't be around long folks)