Set during the hot summer of 1957 in New York, Sylvie’s Love, gives a genteel and dreamy version of 1950s Harlem and the Bronx where the jazz is smooth and the air sultry.
A beautiful love story for all the die-hard romantics out there, Sylvie’s Love is just under two hours long, but I watched the whole thing with a half-smile playing around my lips. [Yes, I am a die-hard romantic!]
Sylvie, played by Tessa Thompson who is unrecognisable from her most prominent role yet as Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok, was the refined and well-spoken debutante who dreams of a career in television. While spending her summer days helping around her father’s record store, she waits for her fiancé to return from war. Turning her world upside down is Robert Halloway (Nnamdi Asomugha), the good-looking, intriguing stranger who takes a part-time job at her father’s record store. A talented saxophonist, he spends his nights playing behind a less talented but well-known bandleader, as member of a jazz quartet.
“I hope that people will see themselves in Robert, Sylvie, and their story, and – for two hours, at least – surrender any cynicism they may have about love.”
The two begin a friendship that sparks a deep passion in each of them unlike anything they have felt before. As the summer winds down, life takes them in different directions, bringing their relationship to an end. Years pass and Sylvie’s career as a TV producer blossoms, while Robert has to come to terms with what the age of Motown is doing to the popularity of Jazz. In a chance meeting, their cross paths again, only to find that while their lives have changed, their feelings for each other remain the same.
Writer/producer/director Eugene Ashe combines romance and music into a sweeping story that brings together changing times, a changing culture, and the true price of love. In addition to starring in the film, Nnamdi Asomugha, who the eagle eyed among you will recognise as Kerry Washington’s husband, is also a producer of the movie, as was Tessa Thompson. Having made his screen debut in Crown Heights three years ago, he is definitely leading man material.
The ensemble included a stellar supporting cast, including Aja Naomi King as Mona, Sylvie’s best friend, Lance Reddick as Mr. Jay, Sylvie’s dad and Erica Gimpel (Yep, Coco from Fame!) as Eunice, Sylvie’s mum.
This is an excellent debut for writer/director Eugene Ashe, who summed up what the film is about: “I think everyone in the world has the desire to love and to be loved; it is universal. At its core, the film is about that universal desire we all have. I hope that people will see themselves in Robert, Sylvie, and their story, and – for two hours, at least – surrender any cynicism they may have about love.”
Watch the trailer
Sylvie’s Love will launch worldwide on Prime Video on 23 December 2020.