If pure chemistry could propel a love story, then that story is Sylvie’s Love. Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha swirl around each other as Sylvie Farrell and Robert Hunter, in a beautiful period piece set in the 1950s. While the film undeniably has weaknesses, there’s something about the charming, saccharine romance of it all that redeems this story that spans Sylvie and Robert’s life.
Accompanied by a fantastic soundtrack full of sumptuous, swinging 50’s music, it’s impossible not to tumble into the world of Sylvie’s Love and happily stay there for the duration of this 114-minute movie. Although Thompson’s Sylvie is quite brilliant, a woman exuding charm and confidence and class, it is actually Asomugha’s performance that shines brightest. As a young struggling musician, Asomugha’s Robert first meets Sylvie at her father’s record store. He then promptly takes a job there to be near her.
The film is unabashedly a romance film. One that loves love and loves music in equal regard. Directed by Eugene Ashe, a recording artist himself, Sylvie’s Love indulges in romance and love in a way that makes the viewing experience feel like one that is out of time. Although we know that Sylvie and Robert are destined for one another, there is a long road they must both walk — separately and together — before they can reunite.
Engaged to the rich and mild Lacy (Alano Miller), the star-crossed lovers are at crossroads in each of their lives. Sylvie dreams of becoming a tv producer (me too, girl) and Robert is soon offered a job in Paris. Of course, despite the good news about the job, Sylvie finds out that she is pregnant with Robert’s baby. Keeping the knowledge to herself, she watches as Robert leaves and instead goes on to marry Lacy.
Despite the dramatic bumps in the road, both Sylvie and Robert actually lead extraordinary lives. Robert plays jazz in Paris and is a roaring success. Sylvie becomes a successful television producer, producing a cooking show for the masses. There are large jumps in the timeline and ultimately the way in which Sylvie introduces their daughter to Robert feels a bit absurd, but honestly, it doesn’t matter.
Sylvie’s Love won’t win many awards for its screenplay. Instead, it will be for that magnetic score, the mesmerizing colors and cuts of the costuming, the perfect set design, and that couple that seems to ooze chemistry. And frankly, it feels good to watch a movie with Black characters where we don’t have to watch them in pain or suffer under the boot heel of racial injustice. There are plenty of films that will portray a realistic Black experience, but let us also have a bit of this fairytale, that’s important too.
Director: Eugene Ashe
Company: iAm21 Entertainment
Category: U.S. Dramatic Competition