This review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser
“If you can do three hours without wi-fi, marriage is doable” …
THE PHOTOGRAPH – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 46 mins.
DIRECTOR/WRITER: Stella Meghie
STARRING: LaKeith Stanfield, Issa Rae, Teyonah Parris, Rob Morgan and Courtney B. Vance
As we embark down a road of untold pasts, and new beginnings, we meet Mae (Issa Rae), coming to terms with the passing of her mother, and the new information that her mother has shared with her since she has left this earth.
At the same time, we meet journalist Michael Block (LaKeith Stanfield), who is working on a story on Mae’s mom (Teyonah Parris), brought on by a photograph he viewed of her, as he wants to share her creative work as a photographer in New York City, all while raising Mae, with the world.
When sparks start to fly between Mae and Michael, and as we learn more and more about Mae’s mother and her hopes and dreams too, it seems that as these multi-generational love stories unfold, there is always more to a story, than what one stolen image in a lifetime can convey…
I give THE PHOTOGRAPH a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and WAIT AND CATCH THIS FILM ON DVD. I love movies that envelope you in multi-generational storylines allowing you to live out the past, right along with the present, so kudos to Writer/Director Stella Meghie for putting together such fabulous stories, that I found myself hooked by, from the very beginning. LaKeith Stanfield is one smooth and engaging leading man throughout every inch of this film, and it was fabulous seeing him in this more dramatic, and sentimental role. Issa Rae is also as beautiful as she is talented, as she lights up the screen throughout every inch of this film too. I also enjoyed the excellent performances by Teyonah Parris as Mae’s mom, and her love interest, played by Rob Morgan as well. I even enjoyed the “not much more than a cameo appearance” by veteran actor Courtney B. Vance, as his small role is totally pivotal to both evolving storylines. So, with all these accolades abounding, why am I not rating this film a total “Must See”? Well, as much as I enjoyed viewing this film, there were a few times throughout when I felt it was struggling along, as we were meandering in the midst of the storylines for no apparent reason. It also felt to me at times that the backstory, and the chemistry between Parris and Morgan, was outshining the present-day storyline, and the chemistry between Stanfield and Rae, taking away from this film’s powerfulness, when it was all said and done. I also felt that the PG-13 rating of a film that should be lighting up the screen with passion, for its Valentine’s Day release, also took away from the fire that should have been ignited within these love stories unfolding on screen. I know that more people can view it, even the young lovers of the world this way, but I still think that more passion throughout, would have made for a more enjoyable, passion-filled film. And even though I wasn’t totally enamored by everything about this film, The Photograph is still one of those films, that shares the angst and triumph of what loves holds for us all, which you might want to experience at a theater near you this weekend, or when it’s released in a few weeks on DVD, making for what could be a perfectly romantic night in for you, and your significant other too..