You ever meet someone and instantly just click? Someone that you know is in your bloodstream and can’t imagine life without them in your world? In the Fannie Hurst adapted “Backstreet,” Susan Hayward is an up and coming fashion designer who unexpectedly falls in love with a department store mogul (John Gavin). What’s the hitch? He’s marriage with two kids. So, instead of demanding Paul (John Gavin) abandon his family for their happily-ever-after, Rae (Susan Hayward) forces herself to be content with a few special moments here and there at the expense of her own happiness. The story has a tragic ending, but it doesn’t keep the viewer from being sucked up into the romance between Rae and Paul. As complicated as the relationship is, the love they shared was real and so was the sacrifice. Although Robert and Sylvie’s love isn’t shrouded in such complexities, their love for one another is unselfish, tender and completely intoxicating.
We, as people of color, deserve to see ourselves happy and light just as much as we deserve to see the darkness we have endured. Sylvie’s Love is an ode to a time that Black people have historically been erased from. Black people have simply excluded from a pivotal era of cinema or presented only in proximity to the white gaze. Well, not anymore. Directed and written by Eugene Ashe, Sylvie’s love is not only for her career, child and parents encompassing every single orafice of her life including Robert, a successful musician who embarks upon professional instability while Sylvie thrives in the world of live television. Let me tell you, I was here for every single solitary moment. The pain, heartbreak, sacrifice, unselfish, unconditional love that came in the form of Tessa Thompson (Sylvie) and Nnamdi Asomugha (Robert). Not to mention the fact that Black love has never been written so elegantly realistic and heartfelt. As movie goers, we are not used to seeing our love stories played out in a period piece romantic drama like we have seen for decades with Doris Day and Rock Hudson. The closest we have come to it was Billy Dee Williams and Diana Ross with Lady Sings The Blues and earlier this year with Stella Meghie’s The Photographer.
The setting, the music and every character will make you fall in love giving me ‘Love Jones’ vibes spotlighting young Black Love mixed with the culture that was pervasive during that time and is wholeheartedly welcomed and refreshing to witness. Watching a Black woman choose pursuing a career wasn’t popular choice during those days. I remember well, my Mom sharing stories about how adamant my Dad was about her not working while raising us. It just wasn’t the way our world was conditioned then. One of my favorite lines is when Sylvie says, ” I can’t be the woman of your dreams while also trying to be the woman of my own.” I also remember watching my Mom and Dad dress to the nines when they had date night. Mommy looking like she stepped right off a Nancy Wilson album cover and Daddy looking like Otis Redding about to break out “Dock of the Bay.” It’s cinematic;;y gorgeous and infused in blue representing the music, the mood and the hope translated through the characters and dialogue. It’s simply perfection as are Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha , who never exude a false note in their bodies. Their chemistry is combustible and fan-freakintastic! Aja Naomi King, Ryan Michelle Bathe’, Lance Reddick and the entire supporting cast are flawless as is Sylvie’s Love streaming right now on Amazon Prime Video.