I was the only one in the theatre but I don't care. This was a really good movie. And I like that Barack was listening to Janet Jackson's "Miss You Much" on the way to the date.
The main challenge Southside With You sets for itself isn’t a very difficult one. Richard Tanne’s gentle romantic drama charts a first date from its uneasy opening to its hopeful conclusion, with its protagonist Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter), as a skeptical young lawyer being wooed by subordinate at her firm. The film, at times, tries to cheekily inject some suspense into whether she’ll be won over. But given that her associate is a young Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers)—her future husband and President of the United States—the film inspires very little “will they, won’t they?” nail-biting.
So the real task for Southside With You may be justifying its own existence. In portraying Michelle’s cautiousness and Barack’s halting, but eventually successful charm offensive, the first-time writer-director Tanne revels in the qualities Obama would later use to captivate much of the country. But with President Obama still in office, there’s a sense that it may be too early to retell the story of his and Michelle’s first date—even if the election for his successor is still months away. But leave the oddity of Southside With You’s existence aside, and the film is still compelling for the way it celebrates a powerful partnership by unraveling its earliest moments, and I loved every minute of it.