Even with its attractive cast, The Photograph doesn’t quite capture the chemistry like its ‘Love Jones’ counterpart| Review by Phette Hollins

Dropped: Valentine’s Day 2020

Written & Directed by: Stella Meghie

Music Composed by: Theee Robert Glasper

Produced by: Will Packer, who brought us This Christmas, Stomp the Yard, Think Like A Man, and Girls Trip

Mae, played by Issa Rae, is on a quest to find out more about her mother who dies and leaves behind letters, photos and some unanswered questions. The journey ultimately helps Mae not only learn about her mom but also find herself.

Along the way, she meets smooth-talking, charismatic, Son of sultry Michael Block, played by LaKeith Stanfield. I came across LaKeith back in 2016 when I used to watch the show Atlanta. I knew then he would be a big star. He went on to play in Get Out as the dude who gets kidnapped in the beginning walking through the suburbs at night.

The Similarities

  • Jazz music – Both movies do a good job incorporating jazz into the story.
  • Photography – In Love Jones Nia Long is a photographer; in The Photograph the basis of the story is about Christina and her love of images.
  • Rebound – Both movies portray characters just getting out of a relationship and hopping right into another one.
  • Long distance – Both movies touch on whether or not a long distance relationship is doable.

What Didn’t Jive

  • Issa Rae – Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Issa Rae. I credit her for inspiring this middle-aged black woman that I can create shows and content without permission, thanks to her show Awkward Black Girl on YouTube. However, she doesn’t exude sexy and, because of this, I found it hard to believe their “chemistry,” thus love story. She looked, for lack of a better word, awkward 🤷🏾‍♀️ I can see KeKe Palmer or even Nicole Beharie playing the part.
  • The friends – Lisa Nicole Carson played the shoot from the hip, tell it like it tiz friend to Nia Long in Love Jones as did Isaiah Washington to Larenz Tate. The sidekicks in The Photograph were pretty much irrelevant, served no purpose.
  • Courtney B. Vance – Again, irrelevant. I’m trying my best not to include any spoilers but, trust me. He’s unnecessary. LOL.
  • Underdeveloped characters – everybody needed more backstory, just a wee bit.

What Did Jive

  • Lil Rel Howery – His comic relief was on point, just like in Get Out. He’s funny and looks good with the weight loss.
  • LaKeith – PERIODT!
  • Brown skin – I love seeing brown skin magnified on the big screen.
  • The music – From Al Green to The Internet’s ‘Hold On,’ I was all in.
  • Cinematography – The shots and scenes were beautiful. One of my favorite scenes is of Issa and LaKeith walking outside after the storm. It’s a nice shot.
  • Y’lan Noel and Chante’ Adams – Now, their chemistry was FIRE! Flaming hot. Shout out to Chante’ from here (Detroit, MI). You may remember her from the biopic Roxanne Roxanne.

Overall, I thought the movie was OK in some elements of its portrayal of Black Love but lacked the lustful, fiery, sexy chemistry that Nina Mosley and Darius Lovehall captured so believably and brilliantly.


Published by phettehollins

www.phettehollins.com www.facebook.com/phephi www.facebook.com/phettehollins www.twitter.com/phettehollins

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