The romance film Southside With You recreates the first date of Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson in Chicago many, many terms ago. It reminded me of Richard Linklater’s first date movie Before Sunrise, only significantly less insufferable (sidenote: few things annoy me more than a philosophical Ethan Hawke, though I’ll admit he’s great at being peer pressured into smoking PCP).
The cynic in me questions how accurate the depiction of this Obama courtship is (FAKE NEWS alert!), but regardless at least portions of it are rather charming. The date covers a trip to the museum, a walk through the park, a community meeting, and is capped off by a viewing of Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing. Ignoring the clothes, music, and the historical subjects themselves, you can tell that this movie takes place in 1989 and not present day because… who the hell plans a first date that will last longer than 90 minutes? I guess things were different back when every first date wasn’t also technically a blind date.
Southside is one of two films that came out last year chronicling a young Barack. I enjoyed Barry a little more, which covers his time as an undergrad in NYC, but this is fine too if you’re feeling nostalgic for our former leader. Our we gonna get young Donald movies eventually? Please tell me someone is already working on When Donald Met Melania. Streaming on Netflix. Grade: C