‘The Photograph’ Review: Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield Romance Film Is a Refreshing Beauty, Literally

by Jeremy Spirogis
Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield in

From Love Jones to Love & Basketball, the 1990s had been a hey-day of romantic dramas starring Black casts, from Black administrators. With The Photograph from director Stella Meghie (Everything, Everything, Jean of the Joneses, The Weekend) there’s a loud, clear and exquisite message — Black love in movie is all the pieces.

Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield in 'The Photograph'
Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield in ‘The Photograph’ | Universal Pictures

What’s ‘The Photograph’ about and who does it star?

The Photograph revolves round Mae Morton (Issa Rae), the daughter of a well-known photographer, Christina Eames (Chante Adams). When Christina dies, Mae has a mix of emotions, largely as a result of she and her mom didn’t have an excellent intimate relationship and she or he felt there have been a variety of unanswered questions on her.

As Mae finds letters and {a photograph} in a safe-deposit field it jumpstarts a journey during which she learns about her mom’s life and her personal identification. This journey goes hand in hand with a romance that she kicks off with a journalist named Michael Block (Lakeith Stanfield).

Led by Insecure star Rae and Atlanta star Stanfield, the movie additionally stars Y’Lan Noel, Courtney B. Vance, Rob Morgan, Lil Rel Howery, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Teyonah Parris, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Marsha Stephanie Blake, and Chelsea Peretti.

Beauty from the look, to the texture, to the sound

You can all the time inform when a Black director is ready to direct Black actors in a Black movie.

Meghie does an awesome job at helming this movie, and credit score additionally goes Mark Schwartzbard for the plush look of the film and the spectacular method that the forged’s pores and skin is depicted on display. Also, the entrancing, jazzy music by Robert Glasper provides to the movie’s lovely aesthetic.

[embedded content]

Meghie’s script permits her actors to inhabit these characters with out coming off as inauthentic. It’s not overbearing and sharper in components the place it must be.

Stellar performances throughout

Stanfield’s efficiency right here proves that he’s not solely probably the most gifted actors working in Hollywood, however he’s fingers down probably the most versatile entertainers comfortable. He brings a sure warmness to the position that couldn’t have been conveyed by anybody else. Rae is strong right here as properly, and it’s nice to see how doing drama versus the comedic fare that she’s recognized for.

Meanwhile, Chante Adams continues to point out that she’s probably the most slept-on, underrated skills within the trade. Most recognized for her position reverse Mahershala Ali and Nia Long in Netflix’s Roxanne, Roxanne, she undoubtedly is essential to the movie’s extra dramatic moments and brings her A-game.

The actual MVPs of the movie

Some of the movie’s extra supporting gamers, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Jasmine Cephas Jones, Lil Rel Howery, and Teyonah Parris are all glorious too. Harrison Jr. has a knack for taking part in darkish, complicated teenagers, as we noticed final yr in Luce and Waves. He’s garnered essential approval for that materials however seeing him right here in a comedic position and killing it reveals that he can do nearly all the pieces as properly.

While Stanfield and Rae are good of their solo scenes, they’re nice when interacting with the opposite forged members. Harrison Jr. and Stanfield’s scenes, depicting a mentor-mentee relationship and friendship, inside a newsroom is nice to see on-screen and I hope that is simply the beginning of these two being in a venture collectively.

And Rob Morgan, one in every of movie’s unsung heroes of 2018, continues to make is shed tears in theaters.

Simple…however efficient?

While The Photograph‘s story, message and plot could also be tremendous simplistic that may be very a lot part of its attraction. The jumps between previous and current could also be cumbersome at occasions, particularly with the shortage of context and improvement within the relationships that Christina has together with her mom and with Issac. But, the general story is put collectively by the oozing chemistry between the forged.

The movie additionally does comedy simply nearly as good as drama, though the movie regarded like it will initially play up its extra dramatic moments. But the love story, mashed up with a variety of household drama parts makes the movie greater than only a common romance.

The Photograph is in theaters Valentine’s Day weekend.

Leave a Comment