As President Barack Obama's historic administration draws to a close, a number of movies are being fast-tracked to tell the story of his life. But the first to come out of the gate is probably the most ambitious, Southside with You, Richard Tanne's drama about the first date between Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson. Gee, whatever becomes of those crazy kids? Think they fall in love?
The film stars Parker Sawyers as Barack and Tika Sumpter as Michelle, but the movie is about more than just them. The screenplay by Tanne is as much a love letter to the city of Chicago as anything else, taking us through a walking tour of its history and culture, seen through the eyes of two intelligent black professionals. It was refreshing to see Chicago depicted in a positive light for once, rather than as a haven for guns and gangs. That's just one of the many reason why this movie works, and as I noted in my review, if it wasn't about the Obamas you'd still have a great love story and a perfect date night movie.
Along with Tim Gordon of thefilmgordon.com I had the chance to talk with Parker Sawyers, Tika Sumpter, and Richard Tanne about Southside with You. First I was struck by the fact that Tanne remembered my review from so long ago and thanked me for it. Second, they were all very open about the challenges of making the movie and reaching audiences that may not be the biggest fans of Obama.
Southside with You is in theaters this Friday, August 26th. Check out my interview below.