Southside With You details the daylong first “date” (depending on whom you ask) between Michelle Robinson and Barack Obama.
Spoiler alert: they wind up getting married.
However, the film does not dive into the relationship past that first date, a fact that seemingly bothered some of the audience members that were in my theater. I don’t know if they expected the film to play through the White House years or what, but this was simply Barack-Michelle Day One.
Simply is not the right term either as the date, which Michelle insisted was not a date for much of the day, ranged all over Chicago, from the Art Institute of Chicago to a meeting where Obama was speaking to the movies to see Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.
Michelle was played by Tika Sumpter and Barack Obama was played by Parker Sawyers and these two actors do a really nice job showing the burgeoning love of the couple who would storm the White House in 2008. This, however, was 1989 and you could see how these two people were different. Michelle was concerned with the perception of her spending time with the young law associate from her law firm. Barack was angry over the relationship with his departed father and he smoked like a sieve.
There was a lot of charm to this movie. The dialogue was excellent and the story took its time to develop. It felt like we were on the day-long date right along with the eventual Obamas. These two slowly were getting to know each other, with Barack confident and smooth and Michelle determined and strong. There was a lot of chemistry with the actors and you can see how these two were slowly connecting.
The film is a little too slow at times, which can make it somewhat dull. The romantic aspect of Southside with You was in full effect which is fine, but never my favorite type of film.
The film was interesting, if not too slow. Good performances all around. A nice goodbye to the first family.