Southside with You Screen 6 articles

Southside with You

2016

Southside with You Poster
  • As Barack, Parker Sawyers knows to keep one hand tucked comfortably in his chinos at nearly all times, so that the other can move freely through space, and occasionally come to rest behind an earlobe, as he talks and talks in that familiar rhythmic cadence. Yet as a director, Tanne’s feel for the Southside is as bird’s-eye pedestrian as a satellite image. His needless use of a ’scope frame only serves to highlight the film’s paucity of any real ideas.

  • It may not announce itself as hagiography, but deep down, it's hero-worshipful to its core. For all its charms, including a climactic first kiss that comes as a result of Barack and Michelle sharing some ice cream, Tanne's film is just another preaching-to-the-choir celebration of Barack Obama and all that he represents. It's a sweet film that doesn't add anything insightful to our understanding of these real-life figures beyond affirming their radiant public images.

  • Sweet, slight and thuddingly sincere, “Southside With You” is a fictional re-creation of Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date. It’s a curious conceit for a movie less because as dates go this one is pretty low key but because the writer-director Richard Tanne mistakes faithfulness for truthfulness. He’s obviously interested in the Obamas, but he’s so cautious and worshipful that there’s nothing here to discover, only characters to admire.

  • At times, the script can sound a bit like someone skimming the Wikipedia pages of both subjects and pasting it into lengthy passages of dialogue, but the actors elevate it. More than being a dead-ringer for Obama's physicality, Sawyers nails the character's cadences without overplaying them. While mostly tasked with reacting to his garrulous persona, Sumpter imbues Robinson with a rascally attitude that provides the ideal foil to Obama's overconfident demeanor.

  • Chicago may not be a character in the film, the way New York City is in the movies of Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, and Nora Ephron. But Southside With You generates as much warmth for its setting as for its characters... In portraying two of the city's most famous inhabitants, Southside With You offers a shining and prismatic view of Chicago as well.

  • A fully realized, intricately imagined, warmhearted, sharp-witted, and perceptive drama, one that sticks close to its protagonists while resonating quietly but grandly with the sweep of a historical epic... The couple’s depth of character emerges all the more vividly through Tanne’s alert directorial impressionism, a sensitivity to the actors’ probing glances that provides a sort of visual matrix for the actors’ inner life.

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