Sylvie's Love: Review
Synopsis: Set between the 1950s/1960s, Sylvie’s Love follows Sylvie (Tessa Thompson) and Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha). The two aspire to reach groundbreaking plateaus in their respective fields, with Robert’s saxophone play gaining attention while Sylvie dreams of being a TV producer. Their love ignites a sweeping romance that transcends changing times, geography, and professional success.
Tapping into the refined charms of old-school romances, Amazon’s latest Sylvie’s Love isn’t merely an homage to a foregone period in film. Writer/Director Eugene Ashe recontextualizes this whitewashed period with charming results, placing the authentic struggles of black dreamers at the forefront in a refreshingly light romance.
Sylvie’s Love indulges in lavish craftsmanship. From the soothing zeitgeist songs to Ashe’s patient framing, each scene portrays its setting with an engaging liveliness. Where some period films feel overly-dressed in cosmetics, Ashe allows his setting to breathe with well-thought textures that convey a classic aura. Stars Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha’s charismatic performances also effectively command the screen. The actors share a subdued, yet palpable chemistry that resonates through the tried and true romance.
I was won over by Sylvie’s Love’s simple appeals, but some of that likable energy becomes overwhelmed by the film’s structure. The concept of dividing the two halves into different eras (one half in 1957 the other in 1962) has promise, but Ashe can’t quite balance the narrative evenly. The second half suffers from a frustrating case of whiplash, throwing a plethora of melodramatic plot turns without allowing these frames to properly develop (a divorce, death, and career change happen in a ten-minute span). Sometimes less can be more, especially when the film’s core elements are already so well-done.
Sylvie’s Love may not hit all the right notes, but Eugene Ashe’s film cleverly reinvents its genre framework with a well-defined lens. In an awards season that boasts several heavy-handed films, this is refreshing escapism for eager audiences.