Sunday, March 6, 2022

Sylvie's Love

Movie Name:
Sylvie's Love
Year of Release: 2020
Director: Eugene Ashe
Starring: Tessa Thompson, Nmandi Asomugha , Eva Longoria, Aja Naomi King, Jemima Kirke, Tone Bell, Rege-Jean Page, Alano Miller, Erica Gimpel, Lance Reddick, Wendi McLendon-Covey, John Magaro, Ryan Michelle Bathe, Raquel Horsford, Tucker Smallwood
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
"Sylvie's Love" is writer/director Eugene Ashe's follow up to his directorial debut, "Homecoming", which premiered in 2012. The film follows the story of Sylvie Parker, who in the 1950s is engaged, but whose fiancee has been drafted to go to war (the Korean War). In the meantime she's been working in her father's record store in New York. Sylvie loves music and TV shows, and her world is suddenly upended when her father hires Robert, a Jazz musician to work in the store. He's equally smitten with her, and their relationship deepens when they go to a small party, where Sylvie's cousin Mona, also strikes a brief affair with one of Robert's band partner. Robert has a chance to go to Paris with the band, while Sylvie suddenly discovers she's pregnant. They go their separate ways, and 5 years later we discover Sylvie has married her fiancee, and Robert and the band are making some waves with their music. Sylvie in the meantime starts a new job in television, and by coincidence reunites with Robert. Their attraction is rekindled, which pushes Sylvie to question her life choices.
"Sylvie's Love" manages to be an ode to classic Hollywood love stories, but with a fresh point of view, one that is undaunted by the limitations of what could be captured on celluloid during those days. It's a film that talks openly about issues such as adult relationships, unexpected pregnancies, racism, sexism, all within this narrative which takes place precisely during the times where all these topics were being discussed head on. And it's also a love story at its very core, one that is about two people who are simply meant to be together. There's an easiness and rapport between the two leads, which makes the narrative all the more meaningful and engaging, though one of the underdeveloped aspects of this feature, is the lack of dimension that those two central characters actually have. Robert is a saxophone player, who apparently only lives for that, and has very little in terms of additional motivation in life, whereas Sylvie for all her initiative and pluck, seems like she falls into situations, without truly having an ambition of her own. The supporting characters also don't fare quite as well, most of them falling into the traps of certain cliches, namely the slightly boozy female agent, the cousin who is more liberal in her approach to sexuality, the conservative mother, and the list goes on. However, the feature itself, manages to focus on the relationship between the central characters, and that's where it excels, since Tessa Thompson in particular, is nothing short of fantastic. She makes Sylvie a truly memorable character, with longing, pain and reserves of strength to ultimately pursue what she wants. Much like her other performances in films such as Rebecca Hall's "Passing", she's truly magnetic, going from dazzled young woman, to more assured matriarch with great ease. The production team on this film is also impeccable, with the beautiful cinematography from Declan Quinn, score from Fabrice Lecomte and production design by Mayne Berke. Worth watching!