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A 'Southside With You' review from a real Chicago Southsider

The city played a large role in the foundation of the Obamas' relationship.


With President Obama's final term coming to an end, Southside With You offers a delightful look at the First Couple's beginning. The film brings to life the story of the very first date of the most prominent "power couple" in the world, Michelle and Barack Obama.

Although the duo's date was pretty long (an all-day event) with very settled activities, it was epic to say the least. Even knowing how the story ultimately ends, it's very insightful, detailed and the rich dialogue is captivates viewers as they're invited to explore the young minds and rhetoric of the couple as they ventured through Chicago's southside in the summer of 1989.

Chicago is breathed through the seams of the plot as recognizable neighborhoods, parks, and architecture painted the film's backdrop. Aside from being the city that the couple resided and met in, Chicago played an even larger role in the foundation of the Obamas' relationship.

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Executive Producer John Legend said, it's interesting "how important this city was to them meeting and to who they eventually became…I think it was important for [Barack] to meet [Michelle] and connect them to the community here…and I think he would acknowledge that he wouldn't be the leader he is without having developed the relationship he had with the city of Chicago."

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As many may know, prior to his candidacy, Obama was an active member and valued contributor to African American neighborhoods across the city's southside. During that time of the late 80s and 90s, there were various issues within the community and throughout the nation that are still relevant today and writer-director Richard Tanne included those as direct parallels within the film. For instance, the First Couple really did go see Spike Lee's iconic film Do The Right Thing on their first date and the discussion that Michelle (played by Tika Sumpter), Barack (played by Parker Sawyers) and other characters shared regarding the plot and morals featured in Lee's film is identical to conversations carried throughout today's black communities of Chicago on a daily basis.

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Overall, Southside With You is film that illustrates the epitome of love, community, hope, tenacity, pride and the power of potentiality. Chicago, being all of these things and more, is a city obliged to have been the home town to the iconic First Family of the United States of America, the Obamas.

'Southside With You' officially opens in theaters today, Friday, August 26.

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