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The Obamas fall in love in 'Southside With You'

Cinema

The Obamas fall in love in 'Southside With You'

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We’ve heard their playlists, watched them dance, and soon we’ll be able to see Barack and Michelle Obama on their first date.

‘Southside With You’ follows a baby-faced Obama as he tries to woo his future first lady over the course of a summer’s day in 1989.

‘Hard to get’ from Michelle

Initially insisting that it isn’t a date, Michelle Robinson falls for Obama, a summer associate at her law firm in South Chicago. The two attend an Ernie Barnes art exhibition, a community meeting, and a screening of Spike Lee’s movie ‘Do The Right Thing’.

Romance not politics

“The thing is I don’t think it’s a political film, it’s a human film, it’s a love film, it’s a romantic film and I think a lot of people will be surprised even if they don’t like the policies of the Obamas or don’t like them, they’ll probably find more in common with them through this film than they do outside. Do you know what I mean?” said Tika Sumpter, who played Michelle in the film.

“So it doesn’t matter what political affiliation you are with, it’s just a love story and if you’ve ever been in love, fallen in love or been hurt or challenged in any way and you just want to see something charming, go see ‘Southside With You’.”

Modern-day resonances

Barack Obama married Michelle in 1992, three years after their first date depicted in the film.

One scene is particularly poignant given the current climate in the US. The fledgling couple clasp hands as they watch a harrowing scene from Spike Lee’s ‘Do The Right Thing’, in which a black man is choked to death by a white police officer.

Executive producer John Legend explained the background: “You see, in that moment in 1989, the seeds of who they would eventually become. He was working in the community, she was a lawyer, they started working together and they were seeing what was happening in their community, they were seeing what was happening in Chicago and obviously Chicago is still in the news, and issues between the citizens and the police are still in the news, and the President has to deal with that every day, and so even at the beginning of their relationship you could see who they were going to become and what they cared about.”

Have the Obamas seen it?

Legend confirmed that the Obamas are aware of the film and went on to say: “I don’t know if they’ve seen it yet. They’re definitely aware of it. I’ve spoken with them about it and people in their team have spoken with them about it and they didn’t seemed opposed to the idea of it existing and I think once they see it, if they haven’t already, I think they’ll love it.”

‘Southside With You’ will be released in UK cinemas on 30 September 2016.

Other upcoming release dates

Canada: 26 August 2016
USA: 26 August 2016
France: 31 August 2016
Germany: 15 September 2016
Singapore: 29 September 2016
UK: 30 September 2016
Spain: 17 October 2016
Italy: 18 October 2016

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