Sunday, December 20, 2020

Movie with Abe: Sylvie’s Love

Sylvie’s Love
Directed by Eugene Ashe
Released December 23, 2020 (Amazon Prime)

In a perfect world, the formative events in a person’s life would all happen at just the right moments. That’s rarely the case since no one can plan for all the ups and downs they might experience, and even if they do, others might show up and throw all that off with their own perspectives and intentions. Falling in love is one thing that typically precedes a decision to date or get married, but that also may occur with another individual even after such a choice has already been made. Wrong or complicated as they may seem, feelings can be undeniable and unable to be suppressed.

Sylvie (Tessa Thompson) works at the record store run by her father Herbert (Lance Reddick) in 1950s Harlem. Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha), a saxophone player and member of a jazz quartet led by Dickie Brewster (Tone Bell), spots Sylvie in the store and promptly requests a job application. Initially uninterested, Sylvie soon becomes hypnotized by her new colleague despite the fact that she has a fiancé in the military. As the passion increases between them, Sylvie and Robert navigate a winding road of ambition and dreams.

This film tells its story over the course of a number of years, as Sylvie and Robert first meet and then reconnect after a time apart. While the title favors Sylvie, it’s very much about both of them and the way that they pursue their careers, dealing with setbacks and the influences of others who seek to decide for them what they can and can’t do. They each have different priorities, but what unites them is the way that they feel together and the inexplicable actions of the universe that continue to put their paths on a collision course.

This film is a formidable combination of casting and artistry, as the quality of the performances match the beauty of its technical elements, including its art direction and costume design. Thompson has proven herself to be skilled in many roles and makes Sylvie feel vivid and opinionated. Asomugha, a former football player who earned attention for “Crown Heights,” is appropriately subdued and quiet as his energy increases and he begins to feel more comfortable sharing how he feels. This film is equally a drama and a romance, one that meets two people where they are and charts the mesmerizing intersection of their lives.


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