I went into this movie with the expectation of disliking it. I thought that a story of the Obamas' first date was a bit too insignificant to be the premise of a whole film, with a biopic chronicling their relationship likely having been a better choice, but I decided to see it anyway, hoping to get a few laughs out of a premise that I thought was a bit silly. In actually, I thought that the film was handled surprisingly well, adding in social commentary that makes the film much more relevant than expected.
The film is a surprisingly good romantic dramedy. Both characters are very well-developed. No matter your opinion of the Obamas now, the film presents them from a subjective, non-political viewpoint as normal human beings falling in love. The performances are surprisingly good and reserved, fittingly, as the film takes place before their rise to prominence. There are a lot of funny moments, and a lot of heartfelt moments, but there were also a few moments that were a bit slow. The film is well-made in a technical sense, with the soundtrack choices being excellent and the cinematography often being beautiful.
The film also incorporated a surprising amount of societal commentary. The meeting part of the film has a lot to say about class division and reveals a lot of the personality of the characters. Commentary also makes its way into the conversations of the Obamas naturally, and in a way that makes it feel relevant.
So overall, I went in expecting to dislike "Southside with You", but I ended up really liking it. It was a refreshing romantic comedy in this time of passionate political elections, and I think that the distributors did a good job of placing this as counter-programming.
Southside with You
Big Tuna's Rating: A-
How Did I Watch It?: In theaters.
Had I Seen It Before?: No.
Would I Watch It Again?: Probably.
I am a huge movie fan that wants to tell people about my very varying taste and opinion of film.