Southside With You Movie Review (NO SPOILERS!)

Southside With You Movie Review (NO SPOILERS!)

The Downtown Tea had the pleasure to view a private screening of Southside With You during the National Association of Black Journalists conference before it’s release date and it’s definitely a movie that will have you glued to your seat.

This film needs to be on your to watch list during it’s debut week. The viewing was followed by a panel discussion with the the two star actors and the director.

credit: The Downtown Tea

Cast and director of Southside With You discuss the making of the movie at the NABJ convention in Washington D.C.

Southside With You is a film that takes you on a visual ride from beginning to end on the Obama’s first date.

Taking place during the summer of 1989 in Chicago, the film shows the passion of Mr. Barack Obama doing every smooth move in the book to make Michelle Robinson his lady.

The opening credits alone is shot so well and will keep you engaged throughout the film. The soundtrack alone will give you a nostalgia feeling of back in the day that will put you in a different feel than 2016 which the director described as being very selective for the Obamas.

Not only does the soundtrack give anyone nostalgia, but the cinematography is so well placed unlike any film in 2016, that it will take you for a 86 minute ride experiencing Chicago in the late 1980s.

Once you lay eyes on Parker Sawyers, it will give you chills because his close resemblance of Barack Obama. The familiar face, Tika Sumpter exhibits such independence, intelligence, and elegance as Michelle Robinson.

The couple embodies everything from their humor, confidence, diction, and character of the Obamas, it sets the tone of the movie from what we already know about the presidential couple.

Ever since director, Richard Tanne read about the Obama’s first date, Tanne felt that he needed to make the film to bring black romance back to the screens.

“The way they look, flirt, and talk to each other they have something special unlike any other presidential couples,” said Tanne.

Tanne, 31, grew up watching black films like Boomerang, She’s Gotta Have It, and Poetic Justice and was so compelled by the Obama’s love story that he wanted to embrace their love and the culture. This will be his first feature film.


Tanne wrote the script for Tika Sumpter after she read the outline and she fell in love with it.

“It was overwhelming, it was exciting at first,” said Sumpter.  “I had to unwrap the Obama off and get the hardworking girl from the Southside of Chicago,” speaking on playing Michelle Robinson.

Sumpter explained that she didn’t want to be Michelle but she wanted to embody the essence of her by watching videos of her speaking at graduations and having regular sessions with her voice coach.

“Making a film is like a cake, all the parts have to come together,” said Sumpter.

When picking the character to play President Barack Obama, director Tanne said Parker Sawyers was definitely the one.  Parker said people always said he resembled Obama and he already joked around trying to imitate Obama.


The director Richard Tanne had a rough time producing the movie having conflict with others wanting him to “white wash” the movie or making it “more relatable” or having to “dumb it down” but Tika Sumpter stood by him and agreed if they were doing it, it was going to be done right.  He wanted to protect the vision.

Coming next, Parker wants to do another positive movie, Tika has caught the producing bug and is planning to produce more movies while reading scripts and director Rich is planning to make another big film.

To not spoil the movie, everyone needs to see this movie. It is a love tell that will last for a lifetime and make anyone feel a fuzzy feeling inside.

Sumpter said they haven’t met the Obamas but made the movie for the couple along with Sasha and Malia to love.

The movie will premiere in theaters August 26, 2016.



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1 Comment

  1. Damage
    August 9, 2016 / 3:03 pm

    Good read!