*Warning: Minor spoilers ahead*
I've developed this habit of bracing myself before watching a romance film that centers on a Black couple. Why, you ask? Well, for one, I've noticed a disturbing trend when it comes to Black love stories, specifically. Nine times out of ten, I find that the couple's relationship is rooted in some kind of trauma, whether it be a racist incident, a painful childhood experience or a history of domestic abuse (yes, I'm looking at you, Tyler Perry). Even in cases where these couples eventually live "happily ever after," I'm often left feeling more disappointed and conflicted than hopeful.
That's why I went into Sylvie's Love expecting to see a love story that was filled with pain, heartache and deeply toxic behavior. It didn't help when I learned that the film is set in 1950s Harlem—a challenging time for the Black community due to racial segregation. But when I actually watched the movie, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the main love story was... well, simple.
It gave me all the feels, minus the usual tinge of discomfort. Even better, I finished this film with the biggest grin on my face and I actually felt relaxed—something that almost never happens after I watch Black romance dramas. It's no wonder the movie now has a nearly perfect 5-star rating on Amazon Prime.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the film, it follows Sylvie Parker, an aspiring filmmaker, who meets a rising musician named Robert Halloway at her father's record store. The two quickly fall in love, but maintaining a real relationship proves to be a challenge due to Robert's career and Sylvie's engagement to someone else.
Tessa Thompson stars as the ambitious Sylvie (who you can't help but root for in the film), and Nnamdi Asomugha (Kerry Washington's husband) stars as the talented saxophonist, Robert. There's an effortless attraction between these two from the moment they first meet, but the challenges they face make the love story believable.
I won't mention specifics, but I will say that the film does an amazing job of tackling issues like microagression and gender inequality without taking away from the overall tone of the movie. I also love that it delivered so many swoon-worthy moments and romantic one-liners without leaning too heavily on cheesy romantic tropes.
As for the more intimate scenes, there's no explicit nudity in the film—although it's probably not the best choice for family night. You'll catch a few sexual innuendos and some minor profanity, but nothing extremely raunchy or R-rated.
Overall, this romance film was a welcome surprise, and one that I definitely intend to watch again. It was just so refreshing to see a simple love story about two complex Black characters who find themselves in the process...minus the trauma.
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