‘The Photograph’ Review: Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield Romance Film Is a Refreshing Beauty, Literally

Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield in 'The Photograph'
Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield in ‘The Photograph’ | Universal Pictures

What’s ‘The Photograph’ about and who does it star?

The Photograph revolves around Mae Morton (I

From Love Jones to Love & Basketball, the 1990s were a hey-day of romantic dramas starring Black casts, from Black directors. With The Photograph from director Stella Meghie (Everything, Everything, Jean of the Joneses, The Weekend) there is a loud, clear and beautiful message — Black love in film is everything.

Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield in ‘The Photograph’ | Universal PicturesWhat’s ‘The Photograph’ about and who does it star?

The Photograph revolves around Mae Morton (Issa Rae), the daughter of a famous photographer, Christina Eames (Chante Adams). When Christina dies, Mae has a mixture of feelings, mostly because she and her mother didn’t have a super intimate relationship and she felt there were a lot of unanswered questions about her.

As Mae finds letters and a photograph in a safe-deposit box it jumpstarts a journey in which she learns about her mother’s life and her own identity. This journey goes hand in hand with a romance that she kicks off with a journalist named Michael Block (Lakeith Stanfield).

Led by Insecure star Rae and Atlanta star Stanfield, the film also stars Y’Lan Noel, Courtney B. Vance, Rob Morgan, Lil Rel Howery, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Teyonah Parris, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Marsha Stephanie Blake, and Chelsea Peretti.

Beauty from the look, to the feel, to the sound

You can always tell when a Black director is able to direct Black actors in a Black film.

Meghie does a great job at helming this film, and credit also goes Mark Schwartzbard for the lush look of the movie and the spectacular way that the cast’s skin is depicted on screen. Also, the entrancing, jazzy music by Robert Glasper adds to the film’s beautiful aesthetic.

Meghie’s script allows her actors to inhabit these characters without coming off as inauthentic. It’s not overbearing and sharper in parts where it needs to be.

Stellar performances all around

Stanfield’s performance here proves that he is not only one of the most talented actors working in Hollywood, but he’s hands down one of the most versatile entertainers at ease. He brings a certain warmness to the role that couldn’t have been conveyed by anyone else. Rae is solid here as well, and it is great to see how doing drama as opposed to the comedic fare that she’s known for.

Meanwhile, Chante Adams continues to show that she’s one of the most slept-on, underrated talents in the

Source:: Showbiz Cheat Sheet

      

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