The Photograph (2020)
Director: Stella Meghie
Writer: Stella Meghie
Starring: Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield
Plot: Right as she falls in love, Mae receives a letter from her mother about her similar experience decades before.
Review: It’s the season of love, baby. The time where every major corporation takes your romantic feelings and monetizes them. Hollywood is no different. They cannot let February 14th pass by without a romantic movie playing on the silver screens. Hence, The Photograph. Honestly, I don’t have a whole lot to say on this one. My movie theater experience was more interesting than the movie itself. (There was a dude smoking a blunt, while his girlfriend chatted on the phone. IN THE THEATER.) But, the movie? It’s good. It’s not fantastic. It’s not groundbreaking. It’s fine. I’m sure there are worse ways to spend two hours on Valentines day.
Honestly, there’s not a lot to this movie. It’s a lot of this couple talking. Then they get separated so they can talk to someone else. Then, there’s a flashback of people talking in the 80s. That’s followed by an exciting scene of… the couple talking in a different city. It’s a lot of conversations is what I’m trying to say. Like a lot. And they’re not particularly interesting conversations either. The dialogue doesn’t pop. It’s not clever. Hell, honestly, I didn’t find it all that romantic. It’s just people talking.
I will say that I found the flashback story to be more interesting than the one set in the present. There was at least kind of a plot. I never questioned why their story was being told, like I did a couple times with the others. Her mother’s was a story worth telling. I don’t know. Maybe the act of breaking up is inherently more interesting than the act of getting together. But, in a weird way, I also found the 80s story to be more romantic. The characters were more developed too. I understood their motivations and why there was conflict. It kind of confuses me why this wasn’t the main story. I’d even go as far as to say this should be the only story. I still don’t think it would be great, but it’d be more interesting.
I think I’m coming across more harsh than intended. I liked the two leads. They are both likable people played by talented actors. It was fun getting to know them. And, if they were my friends, I’m sure I’d think their story was adorable. However, movie characters’ tales are held to a different standard. There needs to be a reason for the story to be told. I didn’t see one here. It wasn’t particularly original or interesting. It just was. Maybe that’s enough for some couples on Valentine’s Day, but I need something more to latch onto.
TL;DR: The Photograph is boring. It’s not bad. There’s just not a whole lot going on.
Score: 6/10 (Okay)