Sylvie’s Love [Grade: B+]

Director: Eugene Ashe

Cast: Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Regé-Jean Page, Aja Naomi King, Tone Bell, Eva Longoria, Jemima Kirke

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This was a film recommended to me by some folks via Clubhouse. Admittedly, I’m not a huge “love story” person, at least not those blatant love stories. I am most appreciative when there’s a surprise love story weaved into an overall plot, nicely. 

BUT, despite my feelings about love stories, I  still chose to check it out. 1. Because it was recommended. 2. Tessa Thompson. And 3. Because Issa said #RootForEverythingBlack.   With that being said, I enjoyed #SylviesLove. There were some really special things about this story that hooked me in. 

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Below are my grades for key components in #SylviesLove that I find to be key in any story/film—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character Arc/Development. I think it is also important for me to add that moving forward, I will not include a plus-rating with my breakdown, but will continue with minus-ratings.

Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start), & Don’t Rush.

I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale. 

* * *

Theme: A

Plot: A-

Pacing: A

Character Arc/Development: C

Entertainment Factor: Worth the Watch

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My Takeaways—(BOLD = Thumbs Up/Pluses, & Relaxed = Thumbs Down/Lacking):

1. The cinematography was beautifully done. Shout out to Declan Quinn! 

2. Baby, where did Nmamdi Asomugha come from? Just a beautiful man! 

3. As a friend who was watching with me said, “She toxic! That’s a #FuckGirl!” LMAO! 

4. I heard someone in a Clubhouse room say that they felt Tessa Thompson isn’t cast well in her films, and then my friend who watched with me said that he didn’t think she fit as his love interest because she looked “older.” However, I LOVE Tessa Thompson. There is such a natural ease to how she delivers her characters whether she’s a traumatic drunk warrior in Ragnarok, an ambitious and curious thrill seeker in MIB International, a hearing impaired supportive, and loving partner in Creed, an artsy activist in Sorry to Bother You, this identity conflicted activist and evolving college student in Dear White People…OR this free spirited, passionate, strictly raised young woman dreamer… 

5. And to piggyback off #4, yes at times I would have preferred a different looking woman as the young portrayal, but I don’t think I’d want anyone else to deliver the essence of Slyvie across the board. So having to deal with a few bad angles in the light for the first 20-30 minutes is nothing compared to the likeness she brings to the character throughout. 

6. Chile, I hope Connie got kept! 🤣🤣🤣 Mama was always present at the most opportune time. 🤣🤣

7. I appreciated the static, yet foil character portrayals of the mother and father. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

8. Now…you been working at this shop for how long? And you were never told about that door? 

9. The plot, albeit good, is also pretty safe in terms of Black cinema. The first thought I had was, “not incorporating music again…” 

10. BUT, to piggyback off #9, I think the Harlem Renaissance focus allowed the element of music to have some gem moments that were different than the normal music-added aesthetic to our stories. 

11. That subtle, yet clear full circle between Herbert and Robert was really appreciated

12. I LOVED the intentionality of never showing violence/trauma. The entire film was meant to be this lovely paced work, and that’s what it was. 

13. I also LOVED how this story tapped into the complexities of Sylvie’s “Love(s).” It was probably the most interesting aspect that elevated this film from simply being another love story. 

14. Shout out to Tone Bell fine ass! I came across a stand up video via my FB one day, and now here is with a key role and everything. #Weeeeerrk!

15. Hmmm… Eva Longoria was an odd casting. LOL I liked her more towards the later half of the film, but wanted something else at the start of the film from her. 

16. There was something very unique about the character Lacy, and how his cloak of patriarchy was designed…  

17. Baby, Regé-Jean… mm mm mm! 

18. #Gasp! Now Big Tank! Really, dude! REALLY!? 

19. Also, to piggyback off point #10, I think focusing on the musical component during this particular time period also helped move the plot in an interesting way that worked in its favor. 

20. Now the way they used Aja’s character LOL LOL LOL. I mean, I liked it, but at the same time… LOL I just found it so funny every time she popped up with what she was doing. 

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Overall, #SylviesLove is such a smooth, beautifully paced and directed love story that is more than just love between human beings. It gave me Love Jones-meets-Brown Sugar-meets-The Photograph. 

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