Hillary Thompson, Staff Writer
Sylvie’s Love was released on Jan. 27, 2020, and is now streaming on Amazon Prime. The movie illustrates a young woman meeting an aspiring saxophonist in her father’s record shop in 1950’s Harlem. Their love ignites a sweeping romance that transcends changing times, geography, and professional success. This movie portrays one of the greatest love stories in history; it is a memorable film filled with thought provoking and emotionally charged stories that are woven throughout the era. The delicate acting style, dynamic portrayal of African Americans, and smooth jazz all came together to make a riveting film. The movie also illustrates the hardships that individuals are forced to face based on social class, which during this time significantly affected African American women. The chemistry between all of the characters was robust, especially between the two main characters, Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha. The team did a stellar job portraying a love story.
Although Thompson and Asomugha faced many obstacles in their relationship, they developed a strong and healthy bond that was present by the end of the film. The aesthetic in the movie was eye catching and the costume designs portrayed the fifties and sixties look. The visual designs, as seen in the jazz clubs and within the intricate set pieces, were also done incredibly well. The jazz music that played in the background captured the era perfectly, and although there were some grey areas in historic inaccuracy, overall the script was well written and did a fantastic job capturing the relationship developing between the two characters.
This movie received some great reviews from critics, including one from the New York Times that states, “Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha star in a swoony love story that wonderfully rethinks the classic Hollywood melodrama.” Another critic from the Rolling Stones stated their opinion on the movie and said, “Sylvie’s Love is a sweet, well-acted but overly packaged film that consciously reimagines mid-century Douglas Sirk-style melodramas with a Black cast and a Harlem setting.”
The film ended up scoring 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and scored a 4.7 out of 5 with audiences. “Great films are memorable for all the right reasons,” one critic at Wonderstone wrote. “Many of them are thought provoking, emotionally charged stories designed to unapologetically open the eyes of audiences so that what is considered ordinary, unimportant, or simply a stain on the fabric of human life is transformed into something beautiful, something to be cherished, or, at the very least, something to be respected.”
Overall, this is a memorable film that thrives in portraying a realistic love story between main characters who must face the challenges of living in 1950s Harlem.