Last night, my lady and I decided to watch Sylvie’s Love on Prime Video. This was the first time we’ve sat down to watch a movie together since having our son Maxton Bruin 3 weeks ago. So we put the baby to bed, sat on the couch together to escape to New York during the summer of 1957 where Sylvie’s Love takes place.
The movie tells the story of Robert – a stellar saxophonist in a small band on the come up – and Sylvie – a young woman with a dream to be in the television business. When Robert, played by Nnamdi Asomugha, takes a part-time job at a record shop, he meets Sylvie, played by Tessa Thompson, they quickly become friends.
As the summer winds down, life takes them in different directions, bringing their relationship to an end. Years pass, Sylvie’s career as a TV producer blossoms, while Robert has to come to terms with what the age of Motown is doing to the popularity of Jazz. In a chance meeting, Sylvie and Robert cross paths again, only to find that while their lives have changed, their feelings for each other remain the same.
MY SYLVIE’S LOVE REVIEW (SPOILERS)
After watching Sylvie’s Love I walked away thinking that this was a beautiful love story that did a great job highlighting just how difficult love can be. For instance, it’s clear that Robert is the right person for Sylvie but it’s the absolute wrong time for them to meet. His band is on the come up and her life is assigned to a man named Lacy, played by Alano Miller. Still, Robert and Sylvie chug along as friends which is where Tessa shines in the role. She’s able to say so much with just a glance.
There is a scene where the two are at a party not talking to each other and she gives a look into the camera that touched my soul. Nnamdi does his best to ignore her, but he also does a good job of displaying his discomfort. Excellent storytelling from director Eugene Ashe, who uses colors and cinematic style to transport the viewer to New York in the 60s. The characters maintain their dignity as they go through the sacrifices and tribulations of true love.
GIVE TESSA HER FLOWERS
Eugene says he was lucky to have two great actors like Nnamdi and Tessa, adding. “Tessa brought her passion for women’s rights, shown in her character’s transformation from someone who is in an arranged marriage to someone who takes control of her life and makes decisions on her own.”
When that ineluctable moment comes in the film Tessa knocks it out of the park showing Sylvie as an unapologetic woman who is finally going to live the life she has always wanted. Breaking up with Lacy she held no punches, showed zero remorse, and was even a bit cold – highlighting the things women have to go through in the entertainment industry. As her husband ask her to do the impossible – take a day off as a Black female producer of a hit tv show in the 60s. Brilliant.
Tessa Thompson portrayed Sylvie perfectly. She was urbane throughout – despite the people around her constantly trying to put her in a box and tell her how to live. She cracked for a moment when the love of her life pushed her away but quickly pulled herself together. Thanks to Tessa it was impossible not to root for Sylvie.
Overall, I thought Sylvie’s Love was one of my favorite films of the year. Perfect to watch with the lights off and some wine after a hot bowl of Dad’s Chicken and Dumplings.