Are grace and michelle dating
Sustaining a low-key vibe (courtesy of Evan Schiff’s graceful editing) and steering clear of trumped-up dramatic conflict throughout, the director seems to instinctively grasp the specific magnetism his subjects have long exuded as figureheads, as culturally engaged leaders, and as real people.You may well be able to resist the sight of a young Obama driving around with Janet Jackson blaring on the radio, but it doesn’t take a Democrat to recognize it as the kind of moment the movies were made for.
But it’s the earlier community meeting that becomes the movie’s extended centerpiece, striking very amusing notes early on as various women introduce an increasingly annoyed Michelle as “Barack’s woman” (“Finally, a sister! But when Barack takes the pulpit and alternately calms and rouses those assembled with his plea for consideration and empathy, the sequence deepens into an earnest but riveting demonstration of how effortlessly the young Obama commanded his audience, already displaying the natural eloquence and political savvy that would serve him well in the presidency.Barack, for his part, makes little secret of his personal interest, and after picking Michelle up in a beat-up car with a hole in the floor, he conveniently reveals they have a few hours to kill before the meeting and takes her to the Art Institute (which is presenting an African exhibition), followed by a picnic lunch of which she insists on paying her share.In its broadest strokes, then, “Southside With You” is a classic hard-to-get romance, in which his flirty charisma and her stubborn resistance supply some modest narrative tension as well as a telling glimpse into their respective histories.In any case, despite its unassuming modesty of scale, budget and commercial potential, “Southside With You” stands as something unique, even audacious in American independent movies: a fact-based presidential “prequel” that seeks to present two iconic world figures as convincing and relatable romantic leads.And on that particular score, Tanne’s movie — toplined by the very well-cast Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers — is pretty much an unqualified success, building steadily over its 80-minute running time to the sort of cornball climax that, politics be damned, is all but assured to make you melt (whatever the picture’s post-Sundance fortunes, “the ice cream scene” is likely to become a cherished highlight).In 1988, Mr Obama had enrolled in law school after three years as a community organiser in some of Chicago’s toughest inner-city neighbourhoods.
At the end of his first year, he went to work as a summer associate at Sidley Austin, a corporate law firm.
There are a few winks to things we already know: Michelle’s not-yet-famous sense of style is already blossoming, on the evidence of her light orange blouse and ivory skirt (the work of costume designer Megan Spatz), while Barack, who’s seen smoking and hiding cigarettes throughout, makes playful reference to “the cloudy haze” of his Hawaii years.
But the push-pull of their personalities turns out to run deeper, and in multiple directions. Michelle describes how intently her dad pushed her and her older brother, Craig, to put their studies first, leading Barack to voice his anger with the absentee father who died in a car crash in Kenya some seven years earlier.
Mere hours before that moment, of course, Michelle (Sumpter) has already informed Barack (Sawyers) in no uncertain terms that “this is not a date.” A lawyer at the firm of Sidley Austin, she’s serving as his adviser while he’s a summer associate, and she’s merely agreed to accompany him to a Southside church where locals are gathering to discuss a stalled plan for a community center.
Under the circumstances, Michelle insists, any implied romantic attachment would be inappropriate and send the wrong message at a firm where it’s hard enough to be taken seriously as a woman, let alone a black woman.
Michelle Robinson, three years his junior and already a practising lawyer, was assigned to be his adviser.