January 4, 2021

SCREEN | In the Mood for 'Sylvie's Love' on Prime Video

"I can't be the woman of your dreams while also trying to be the woman of my own."
Tessa Thompson Nnamdi Asomugha Eugene Ashe | Sylvie's Love | Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Studios
An always lovely Tessa Thompson gives another sensational performance in a good ol’ fashioned star-crossed period romance in the traditional Hollywood melodrama mold. How writer/director Eugene Ashe expresses the purity of 1950s Black love feels just as warm as it is endearing in the sumptuous Sylvie's Love.

The central young relationship spanning several years follows the standard model of class conflict and repressed desire of the time with some refreshing specificity to the African-American experience. How Ashe economically lays out the seemingly tragic romance over years with its era-specific detail is impressive and authentic. He never forgets the working-class Harlem setting in simultaneously both a protective Black bubble in addition to the whiter world the African-American characters cautiously try to penetrate in order to move up in society.

Thompson's chemistry with Nnamdi Asomugha is there from the beginning. First, it's a meet-cute then a slow-build attraction before their emerging personal lives predictably get in the way thanks to diverging paths and missed connections. It revels in its throwback nature while giving a much-needed progressive Black context to its drama.

Ashe makes Sylvie's Love such a warm and glowing love story in a classical sense wrapped in contemporary racial themes. Through his splendid leads, Thompson and Asomugha, the film layers such an intense romance balanced rather superbly through tragedy.

Sylvie's Love is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

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