Valentine’s Day 2020

REVIEW: Fall in love this Valentine’s Day with The Photograph

Days after first seeing The Photograph, when I think about it, I still feel the need to stop what I'm doing and stare out the window like I'm in a throwback R&B video. It may even be raining, and you know exactly what I'm talking about! The Photograph stars Issa Rae as Mae, a woman whose mother has died and leaves her to wade through the secrets of her mother's past and the impact it has on her. Lakeith Stanfield plays a journalist named Michael who she falls into an unexpected romance with.  The Photograph goes back and forth between Mae and Michael's present day relationship, and the 80's relationship between Mae's mother Cynthia (played brilliantly by Chante Adams) and Young Isaac (played by Y'lan Noel/Daniel from Insecure), the love she left behind to pursue a career in photography. The rest of the cast is incredible as well: Lil Rel Howery who brings the laughs as Michael's brother Kyle, Rob Morgan as 80's Isaac, Courtney B. Vance as Mae's father, and Teyonah Parris who I just loved as Kyle's wife Asia. There was so much to love about The Photograph. For me, the biggest thing I need in a romantic movie is chemistry and Issa and Lakeith had it in abundance. I swear every time he looked at her my heart melted. And let me tell you, Issa is stunning in this movie and my eyes were glued to her the entire time. My heart may have melted a little looking at her too. I loved everything about the way they interacted, from the dialogue, to the way they moved when they were near each other, to even the way they thought about each other when they weren't even in the same scene. One of my favorite scenes is their first date when they have a discussion about Drake vs. Kendrick. Pure gold. The vibe of the movie is also one of my other favorite things and there were several scenes that felt very reminiscent of Love Jones. In the pacing, in depth of feeling, and in the exploration of black love that we don't see enough of. Like Love Jones, The Photograph has the most incredible soundtrack and score. I will be playing that on repeat for a long time. The other thing I really appreciated about this movie was the examination of what it means to be a woman and a mother. Once a woman becomes a mother, a lot of times we forget that she had a whole life full of hopes and dreams outside of motherhood and only gets seen as a mother. I found it interesting to see Mae uncover the things she hadn't known about her mother. I adored The Photograph. It made me think about: what we sometimes give up for love, what we refuse to give up for love, and the beauty and pain that comes with uncovering the past. Go check out The Photograph this Valentine's Day weekend and savor every beautiful moment.

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