Luxuriantly sensual and unashamedly romantic, The Photograph is a cat’s cradle of connecting love stories, spun across states, decades and continents. In present-day New York, Michael (LaKeith Stanfield), a journalist, meets museum curator Mae (Issa Rae) after stumbling on the photographic work of her late mother while researching another story. In a parallel timeline, the romance between Mae’s mother (Chanté Adams) and her first love, Isaac (Y’lan Noel), simmers; meanwhile, the mother-daughter bond threads together the two stories.
A tumbling jazz score is impulsive and uninhibited – a contrast to the highly polished, unfeasibly handsome but slightly too immaculate look of the picture. It is lit to perfection in a way that can seem a little manicured – all insta-filtered glowing earth tones – but makes absolute sense as soon as the camera locks on to the two leads. Rae and Stanfield literally seem to light up when they are in each other’s company. The electricity between them is utterly persuasive; the sparky dialogue, written by director Stella Meghie, is a flirtatious dance around disparate musical tastes and shared attraction. There’s enough bite to the writing to cut through the cheesier moments; enough weight to the supporting characters to make their stories almost as intriguing as that of Mae and Michael.
Source: The Guardian