Sylvie’s Love is a gorgeous, luscious love story set in the world of jazz and cocktails from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. Streaming on Prime Video, it will set your romantic heart atingle.
Sylvie’s Love is the kind romance you’ve seen many times before. It sets you up to root for the two lovers, breaks your heart again and again, and rewards you with a happy ending. With one big exception. This film has Black lead characters.
The cast serves to remind us all that there are too few love stories between Black characters. We need dozens, hundreds, of similar movies to set the romance world to rights.
Tessa Thompson as Sylvie and Nnamdi Asomugha as Robert are the stars. They have beautiful chemistry and make every moment between them believable.
When they meet, Sylvie is working in her dad’s (Lance Reddick) record store. Robert is a jazz saxophone player. He sees Sylvie through the shop window and goes in to apply for a job. She’s watching I Love Lucy and can’t be distracted. She dreams of becoming a TV producer.
The attraction is there immediately, but Sylvie is engaged to Lacy (Alano Miller), a rich and respectable prospect picked out for her by her image-conscious mother (Erica Gimpel).
Engaged or not, the two can’t resist each other. But it’s not in the DNA of a romance for everything to run smoothly. They separate, get back together, separate, get back together. Their romance takes years of missteps and misunderstandings. In the late 50s and early 60s, women were just beginning to ask whether they could have the career they wanted and the love they wanted. Sylvie is a representative of that generation.
The cinematography is simply gorgeous. The sets look authentic as are the costumes and the automobiles. Of all the details included as background from that time period, I actually remember that old joke Lucy (Wendi McLendon-Covey), the TV personality, told the men backstage.
The music is carefully picked to be the best of the era and is there for every moment. It’s Nancy Wilson and Doris Day and all the greats. A musical treat I’ll bet you didn’t expect was Eva Longoria performing a song. Quite well, too.
At nearly two hours, the film takes time to set up complex lives and depth for both characters. Sylvie navigates a career as a TV producer and a personal life I’ll leave unspoiled for you. Tessa Thompson really shines as she shows Sylvie growing into a mature and self-assured woman.
Robert deals with band members and managers and the coming of Motown. There were a couple of turns in the story that I thought were improbable. One situation late in the story especially bothered me because the writing had been quite good up to that point. Suddenly Robert was acting out of character and it didn’t make sense.
Another issue I had was Sylvie’s cousin Mona (Aja Naomi King). Her purpose in the story was mainly as someone Sylvie talked to about her love life. Women characters who only talk to each other about men are so over.
Overall, however, this is a romantic musical treat for folks who appreciate a good love story and a good sound track.
Sylvie’s Love was written and directed by Eugene Ashe, who has not directed a love story before. I hope he’ll keep writing and directing them for all the romantics in need of beautiful stories like this.
The trailer gives away a lot more spoilers than I did in my review.
Do you plan to watch this romance?