With the end of summer comes the end of summer blockbusters, and gone are the superheroes. In their place, independent titles, as well as action movies not expected to perform well during the busy season, find their way to cinemas. Sandwiched in between the two, Southside with You opened last week. The film is set solely around President Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date.
While Don’t Breath attempted to knock Suicide Squad off the pedestal, Southside with You was quietly winning critics praise for what it was as opposed to what it was not. According to Box Office Mojo, the first date movie did just shy of $2.9 million at the box office, but it only opened in 813 theaters, which gave it a better per-theater average than the second place Suicide Squad.
There is no doubt that the country is divided when it comes to politics, and some might expect a film about Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson’s first date to have some sort of political charge to it. However, Bob Mondello, the critic for NPR, said that Southside with You is “remarkable about not being remarkable in any way” during the Code Switch Podcast.
That is not to say that he didn’t enjoy the film. In fact, he did. His point is that this film takes two of the world’s most powerful people and makes them ordinary.
Critics and moviegoers alike have also seemed to enjoy watching how the president and first lady came to be a couple. Critics currently score Southside with You at 92 percent on the Fresh Meter. Top Critic Barry Hertz of Globe and Mail echoed Mondello’s critique of the film.
“It’s breezy and cute and will do absolutely nothing to sway anyone’s politics. Which is exactly the point.”
Katie Walsh of Tribune Service News also commented on how Southside did a particularly good job of humanizing Barack and Michelle Obama.
“One wouldn’t quite say this date movie is political, but this deeply personal portrayal of the President and First Lady is inherently political — asserting their humanity and the specific life experiences that brought them to the White House.”
Fans have also scored the movie well. Currently, the movie is at 84 percent with patrons. Despite the controversy that sometimes surrounds the president, one particular reviewer found the movie to be far from political. Across the board, the performance of Parker Sawyers as young community leader Barack Obama has been applauded.
“As off-putting as the commercials for this movie might be, the actual film is a delight. Parker Sawyers delivers a wonderful and at time uncanny performance of our future president and in many ways I’d love to see him continue the role in further chapters of the President’s life.”
Parker Sawyers’ previous roles include appearances opposite Pierce Brosnan in the film Survivor. He can also be seen in the upcoming thriller entitled Don’t Hang Up, where two teenagers have a prank call turn south.
Tika Sumpter plays the role of a young Michelle Robinson. Her past credits include the television series The Haves and the Have Nots on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN, where she plays Candace. She was also in Ride Along 2 starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube.
Southside with You was written and directed by Richard Tanne. This is his directorial debut. Future projects for Tanne include The Roman. Very little in known about the film at this time.
It doesn’t appear that Southside with You will get a wide release, but according to the Code Switch Podcast, the film is tailor-made for a Netflix or Amazon Prime release. Are you interested in seeing a film about Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date?
[Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]