Holding Out for a Hero

Iron Man Close-up

Iron Man Close-up

Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods? – Wrote Bonnie Tyler – Where’s the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds? …I need a hero and a heroine too for that matter, but what kind of hero takes his future wife on their first date to a community organizing meeting? I know that it wasn’t a date then, but it is now and it sure looked like one in Richard Tanne’s semi-biographical film, “Southside with You”, the story of Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers) and Michelle Robinson’s (Tika Sumpter) first date. It’s a sweet romantic comedy that is told quickly in an hour and 24 minutes. The time span of the story is only an afternoon and an evening in the summer of 1989. The movie begins and ends with both principles in their respective homes. Obama is a first year Harvard law student, who is summer interning at a law firm in Chicago. Robinson is a Harvard law graduate and Barack’s nominal supervisor at the law firm. In many ways the film is more a movie about Michelle than it is about Barack. This date that wasn’t a date, as Michelle contends throughout most of the movie, grows from its original invitation to a meeting into so much more. Simply told is a love story that even without its historical resonances would still stand on its own, but it is those historical resonances that add a layer of voyeurism to the movie and is really why the film was made and why we went to see it. The characters of Barack and Michelle both seem so young and vulnerable, but also so full of promise. If you didn’t vote for the man then this movie may not be your cup of tea, but if you did then you are going to love it.

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