The Obama Rom-Com.
That’s what we see – along with some inspiring community organizing – in the first trailer (below) for Southside With You. Having premiered earlier this year at January’s Sundance Film Festival, the film dramatizes the first date between Barack and Michelle Obama back in 1989.
It opened to generally positive reviews at Sundance, and the movie-making on display in the trailer generally looks well done on all counts. Plus, there’s no denying it should be a special moviegoing experience for most African-Americans.
That said, despite the natural, likable charm of the leads (Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter as, respectively, Barack and Michelle) and the general quality of the craft, the very premise still can’t help but come off as obnoxious hero worship and mythologizing. The Obamas are literally being romanticized – and he’s not even out of office yet.
A friend mentioned to me that, according to the Sundance reviews he’d been able to read, the film avoids hagiography. Let’s hope so, because the trailer sure doesn’t.
Southside With You – written & directed by Richard Tanne, and executive produced by singer John Legend – opens this summer on August 19, 2016.