The Photograph (2020)

The Photograph (2020) Cover

For the better part of my life, the movies set for Valentine’s Day have been some of the most mediocre films to come out that year. Romance movies don’t really appeal to me, as most are formulaic and don’t really take any chances. The past two years have given us Fifty Shades Freed and Isn’t It Romantic and so on the surface, this year would be following suit. However, in 2020 do we have a black-led Valentine’s Day movie that is actually…good?

The Photograph is written and directed by Stella Meghie, starring Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield. It tells the story of Michael Block (Stanfield) who is researching a story about Christine (Chanté Adams), which leads him to meet her daughter Mae (Rae). The two have a spark but, with Michael unsure about his own life, the two deal with the repercussions of falling for each other

This movie is as feel-good as it gets. Stanfield and Rae have amazing chemistry and it exudes off the screen throughout the whole runtime. We get small cameos from famed comedian Lil Rel who delivers amazing comedic relief. Away from Lil Rel’s character, the film is hilarious and had me laughing the whole time. With the main story between Michael and Mae, we cut back to Christine back in the ’80s dealing with her boyfriend at the time, Issac (Y’Lan Noel). The storyline has entertaining dramatic moments, but there’s a few major plot holes that did bother me and prevented me from being entirely invested in the plot.

Director/writer Stella Meghie is the standout of the film. Her direction is very subtle and not over-stylized. This means that the performances and story have to do the heavy lifting (which is rare at times in Hollywood today). Speaking of the script, Meghie pens one of the better romance movies I have seen in the past few years. The movie goes by so fast, as I was never bored and the film is always moving (no fat slow/boring parts). I don’t think it’s perfect as I feel having to switch between two relationships throughout the entire movie doesn’t give enough time to fully develop either storyline. Both suffer because of this, especially our main storyline with Michael and Mae. However, it is far from terrible.

Long story short, The Photograph is the perfect Valentine’s Day movie. Great all together effort put forth from Issa Rae, LaKeith Stanfield and all brought together by Stella Meghie. This is one you want to take your significant other to!

Final Verdict:The perfect Valentine's Day Movie; one you want to take your significant other too!