Cinema Clips: Southside with You

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Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter shine as Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson on their first date in this ultra sweet, enjoyable account of when the future President and First Lady got together for a day and eventually went to see Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.

Writer-director Richard Tanne, above all things, does a great job of capturing the spirit of the late eighties with his period piece, placing the two icons in a very believable, low key environment.

Sawyers (a dead ringer for Obama) and Sumpter capture the spirit of the couple without exaggerating any of their characteristics. It’s a blast watching a young Robinson, who was actually Obama’s mentor and advisor at a law firm he worked for that summer, keeping a persistent Obama in check with his romantic pursuits. It’s also funny to see the future president lighting up many cigarettes during the course of the movie, including his very first scene.

Tanne’s approach to the subject matter is beautifully understated, allowing for his performers to show us a couple of real people getting to know each other slowly. We all know how things turn out for the couple, but it’s fun to see them starting in Obama’s crappy, smoke stained jalopy with an unimpressed Michelle in the passenger’s seat.

By the end of the movie, he’s managed to impress her on a level that just might lead to a second date.

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