Sylvie’s Love

December 24, 202060/1005 min
Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Eva Longoria, Aja Naomi King
Written by
Eugene Ashe
Directed by
Eugene Ashe
Run Time
1h 54min
Release Date
December 23rd, 2020
Overall Score
Rating Summary

Movies sometimes have a way of painting the perfect picture of a certain time. They take away the rough edges and put you in a place that you long to be a part of. Eugene Ashe does that with his new film Sylvie’s Place, a film he both wrote and directed, as he turns the late 1950’s in Harlem into a world you want to wrap yourself up in.

In this world full of music and life is Sylvie ( Tessa Thompson) as she spends her days working in her father’s record shop, listing to music and watching hours of TV. While her life is pretty set, as her mother has intended it to be, there is about to be a detour that is going to walk into their store, and his name is Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha). He is hooked right away, but Sylvie has a fiancé, so Robert just plays it cool and gets to know her. Robert is not just a record store employee, he is also a sax player, and a pretty good one who is part of a quartet. It’s the summer of 1957 and love is in the air as Robert and Sylvie are unable to fight their feelings, but just as things seem to be going so well, Robert and his band get a gig in Paris and Sylvie has a secret that she is not quite ready to tell Robert. Five years pass, and Robert is recording an album in New York when he runs into Sylvie again and the flame of their love is reignited. Sylvie is now in the job of her dreams as a television show producer and Robert is starting to want to go his own way with his music. Timing is everything and Jazz is not the ‘cool’ thing anymore, leaving Robert without a partner to dance with. Happily ever after doesn’t seem to be in their cards, but in this picture perfect world can love conquer all?

This is the kind of film your grandparents would have lined up in the theater to see in all of its technicolor beauty. Ashe, with his production designer Mayne Berke and his costume designer Phoenix Mellow did their homework and everything in those departments and completely nail it. What really sets the mood of the whole movie though is the music, it will have you longing for simpler times when music made you feel something. While the physical world of Ashe’s film are stellar, the story itself has a few problems. Where the shine starts to wear is in the plot and in the films prancing that just never seems to feel right, and even though both lead performances are good, there was something that didn’t feel right about Thompson to me. It wasn’t that she was bad, maybe just a bit out of place in the role. Even with that Sylvie’s Love is a rich and smooth picture, whose world you want to stay in. There are more powerful love stories out there to be sure, but few look and sound this good.

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