BY: AMANDA GUARRAGI
The Photograph is a beautiful film that was written and directed by Stella Meghie. Her direction and vision for this story was executed so fluidly, that both love stories, blended together quite nicely.
I don’t know where to place the film based on my emotions throughout. I was definitely happy to see two black characters, falling in love, in the most natural way possible. I appreciated the way Christina Eames’ letter came into play and the editing allowed for the third act to make a solid impact. Not only is this a film about feeling an unexplainable connection to someone, it also explains the logic behind certain decisions, involving love. Sometimes people make mistakes and use logic when necessary and sometimes love trumps logic and things work out.
After the death of Christina Eames, her daughter Mae, finds a letter addressed to her and as she begins reading it, she understands that her mother, was a woman first and a mother second. Meghie wrote a screenplay that shows the complexities of being a woman and her womanhood is questioned by her daughter Mae, while she reads her letter. Meghie, writes Christina Eames, as this ambitious photographer, who puts her career before anything else because that’s what she truly loves. She also had a beautiful connection, to her first love Isaac, their love was pure. Their love story was put to the test because of Eames’ need to move to New York, in order to pursue her career.
On the other hand, Mae, who is played by the lovely Issa Rae, not only questions her mother and the way she raised her but how she views herself. Mae believes that she has her mother’s tendencies, to just walk away from a situation but as her story goes on and she reads her mother’s words, she understands the grey area of love and logic. Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield, who plays a journalist, named Michael Block, had wonderful chemistry and without that this film wouldn’t have been the same. They both elevated their love story, while still trying to understand Christina’s love story with Isaac.
As someone who is very logical when making decisions, I understood many of the choices the character’s made while watching this. Trying to use your head, while your heart is beating loudly is one of the hardest things anyone has to do. It’s also the reason why many people stay in a relationship that simply won’t work. There are many factors to weigh and if you overthink (like me) and think of many scenarios, logic trumps love, majority of the time. In the case of a romantic drama, it’s obviously the opposite, so it was nice to see that level of optimism.
The Photograph is a great love story and will break your heart at times. Christina Eames and Isaac’s love story is one for the ages and it will leave you heartbroken. As for Mae and Michael, they wanted their love story to go in a different direction, even if there were some challenges. It’s a lovely romantic drama and I’m very happy that film with this kind of message exists.