BY KATE BENNETT
A film based on the first date of Barack and Michelle Obama has been scheduled for a late-summer release in movie theaters across the country, but the two-and-a-half-minute trailer of Southside With You debuted this week.
The movie takes place in 1989 in Chicago and reimagines the first couple, then Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson, throughout their entire date—which spanned all day and into the night. At the time, Barack was a summer associate at the same law firm where Michelle was a lawyer.
The film depicts their conversations, and flirtation, as they go to the Chicago Institute of Art, meet up with a group of community activists (where young Barack gives a prophetic speech), catch a showing of Spike Lee’s racially charged movie, “Do the Right Thing,” and end up in front of an ice cream parlor for their first kiss. They would marry three years later in 1992.
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 30: (AFP OUT) President Barack Obama kisses First Lady Michelle Obama after speaking at the White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner on April 30, 2016 at the Washington Hilton hotel in Washington, DC. This is President Obama’s eighth and final White House Correspondents’ Association dinner (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama kisses First Lady Michelle Obama after speaking at the White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner on April 30. (Image credit: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Southside With You is the first film from writer/director Richard Tanne, however it received strong critical reviews at Sundance and was produced by musician John Legend, a close friend of Obama.
Although the movie is a fictional account of the date, it is based on public biographical information. Tanne sent the script to the White House for approval, but he never heard back—he also didn’t receive a notice to stop his plan to make the film.
During a Q&A following the Sundance premiere in late January, Tanne said the president and First Lady knew about the movie.
“We’ve heard from some pretty reliable sources that they are aware [of the film]. They are excited. And they are also a little baffled by its existence.”
Newcomers Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter play the the roles of young Barack and Michelle, respectively. August 26th has been set as Southside With You’s theater release.