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Southside With You

In its best moments this tender account of the very first date of Michelle and Barack Obama is reminiscent of Linklater’s first date movie BEFORE SUNRISE and has a Nouvelle Vague lightness.


MY FIRST LADY tells takes place during one day, the day that young and ambitious lawyer Michelle Williams and her new colleague from the law firm, Barack Obama, spend time together privately for the first time. Michelle tells Barack “it’s not a date,” when he comes to pick her up a bit late in his rickety car. Michelle’s career is important to her. As a black woman in a white firm she has fought hard to get to her position and she doesn’t want an office affair. “Ok, it’s not a date,” Barack complies. The not-date starts off in an exhibit of African-American artist Ernie Barnes in the Chicago Art Institute and a community meeting in which Barack holds an inspiring speech. Michelle is moved but when Barack asks her what she thought of the speech she says “a bit professorial, but you’re a good speaker.” It’s surprisingly moving how MY FIRST LADY shows a perfectly normal first date in both a linear and very tender way that involves far more talking than flirting. The film is reminiscent of the floating conversational film BEFORE SUNRISE, the soft US version of the Nouvelle Vague. MY FIRST LADY also throws in topics that will be decisive for the presidential couple in a gently pedagogic way. They talk about their family history while taking a long walk in the park and fight about social engagement and working in a big firm in the car. They go see Spike Lee’s DO THE RIGHT THING at the end. “From now on it’s a date,” Barack says. Michelle agrees.

Hendrike Bake

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: Southside With You
USA 2016, 81 min
Genre: Biography, Drama, Love-story
Director: Richard Tanne
Author: Richard Tanne
DOP: Patrick Scola
Montage: Evan Schiff
Music: Stephen James Taylor
Distributor: capelight pictures
Cast: Parker Sawyers, Tika Sumpter, Vanessa Bell Calloway
FSK: 6
Release: 15.09.2016




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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