In 1989, a young associate falls for a lawyer. He asks her out on what starts as a simply date but keeps going. The conversation is great. The chemistry is there. Neither one wants to end the date, so it keeps going, from a museum to a movie to ice cream. In Southside With You, a new romantic dramedy coming out soon, we spend an entire movie in the moments most romcoms gloss over quickly, the first date. But there’s another big difference: Southside With You is about the first date between one of the world’s most famous couples, Barack and Michelle Obama.
A romcom biopic? I’m intrigued. The typical biopic formula is expansive, maudlin, and, it should be said, stale as hell, so a biopic with laser focus on a single moment often manages to catch my eye. And it reminds me a lot of the conceits of films like Before Sunrise, Richard Linklater’s lovely, philosophical 1990s romance about the looping conversation between two strangers in a single night, or Weekend, Andrew Haigh‘s subtle, passionate exploration of the weekend following a one-night stand. Romance and romantic comedies spent so long going big for their stories that the little moments often got ignored, and I have a particular fondness for films that manage to mine those little moments for something universal. Sometimes the smallest things can mean everything in the world.
While this is Richard Tanne’s first film and I haven’t seen stars Parker Sawyers or Tika Sumpter before, this trailer definitely won me over. A great first date is electric, and the Southside with You trailer captures the feeling of a night you never want to see end very well. That it happens to feature a sitting president is novel, though it does play too much into the weaknesses I see in biopics, but to me, the appeal of this is as a sharply observed, well-acted romantic dramedy.
Check out the Southside With You trailer below, and let us know what you think!
Southside with You premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and is set to be released in theaters on August 26th, 2016. Southside with You was written and directed by Richard Tanne, and stars Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter.