Eugene Ashe’s swooning period melodrama works thanks to its great cast and the fantastic chemistry between Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha
Sylvie’s Love reminds one of Shakti Samanta’s films from the ‘60s and ‘70s featuring lovely music and a feisty leading lady. Even as you see Tessa Thompson watching television at her father’s record store, you immediately think of Sharmila Tagore on the little toy train reading Alistair Maclean’s When Eight Bells Toll as Rajesh Khanna sings ‘Mere Sapnon Ki Rani’ from a Jeep in Samanta’s Aradhana (1969).
Also Read: Get ‘First Day First Show’, our weekly newsletter from the world of cinema, in your inbox. You can subscribe for free here
Written and directed by recording artiste Eugene Ashe, Sylvie’s Love is a delightfully old-fashioned love story. In the searing heat of the summer of 1957 in Harlem, a talented young saxophonist, Robert Halloway, enters a record store. The store is run by Sylvie’s father, a musician till life intervened and now the record store is his only connection to music.
- Director: Eugene Ashe
- Cast: Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Ryan Michelle Bathe, Aja Naomi King, Eva Longoria
- Storyline: Black love, music and all that jazz in the swinging ‘60s
- Run time: 114 minutes
Sylvie and Robert fall in love and just as Sylvie is about to tell Robert a life-changing bit of news, he lands a gig in Paris and the lovers part. Five years on, Sylvie is married, has a daughter and is doing well at her dream job at a television studio when she runs into Robert again outside a theatre. Will the lovers get back together? Will life intervene again?
Loving photographed by Declan Quinn, the seduction of Sylvie’s Love is in the lovely clothes, smooth jazz, the shiny cars and that whole aforementioned Shakti Samanta and Gulzar vibe. The cast is gorgeous from Tessa Thompson as Sylvie to NFL’s Nnamdi Asomugha as Robert. Aja Naomi King as Sylvie’s best friend, Mona, has an interesting arc as she grows from party girl to civil rights activist. Eva Longoria shimmies with the best of them as Carmen while Jemima Kirke as the manager of the band, The Countess, gilds the love story. Alano Miller has thankless job of being a plot point—Lacy, Sylvie’s fiancé and later husband.
Some of the issues of the time are aired, including women’s rights and equal opportunities, but the focus is these two lovely-looking people and their swoon-inducing love — and we sure are not complaining.
Sylvie’s Love is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video