The Photograph

Written and directed by Stella Meghie (The Weekend, Jean of the Joneses) this Romanic/Comedy follows Mae (Issa Rae) as she deals with the death of her mother Christina (Chante Adams). The two were not close, as Christina more to her work as a photographer than being a mother. However, when Mae goes to a safety deposit box of her mother’s she finds a letter to her and a photograph of her mother. This will lead her down a path of discovery about her mother and herself. She reads about the love that her mother had and lost, Isaac Jefferson (Yana Noel as the younger character and Rob Morgan as the elder), and learns about the events that shaped her mother into to the determined individual she was. This helps her see her mother in a new light and she realizes the two of them might not be as different as the thinks, especially when it comes to love.

She isn’t the only one looking to find out what Christina’s life was all about. A reporter, Michael Block (LaKeith Stanfield), see photo’s that Christina took of Isaac and the area of Louisiana that he is researching for a story his is writing. When they meet Michael shows Mae the photo that lead him to search her out and it happens to the photo that Mae just found in her mother safety deposit box. Whole they both search for answers they might have just found the one thing that has escaped them both…love.

Meghie tells a beautiful love story. The film not only focuses on the one love story but switches back and forth between Mae and Michael’s story and Christina and Isaac’s. It is a fresh take on the love story genre. I also thought that the story really moved along quickly because of how it went back and forth, at least for the first half of the film. The cast is good. The main cast mentioned above do a great job and Chelsea Peretti, Lil Rel Howery, Kelvin Harrison Jr. and more all do okay in supporting roles. This is definitely more of a Romance than a Comedy but it definitely has its funny moments, which the supporting cast deliver most of these moments. I thought the pace of the film was good and bad.

It seemed to drag at the end a little too much for me. They built up the ending a little too long. But overall it is a really well done original story that exceeded my expectation after seeing just one trailer. I also thought the visuals really played into the story. Not to spoil it too much but there are times that the two sets of couples wind up in the same places and it’s done in a really beautiful way without blatantly telling the audience “hey remember this.” It was smartly shot and put together. I also enjoyed the sound track and it helped both set the mood and gave the feeling of the different cities and eras.

I think this is definitely a good romantic movie to head to the theaters to see. It does have some of the cliché dialog and story arcs of most romance films but it is more original than not.

3.5 out of 5