I can’t even front, REALLY LOVE was one of the most beautifully shot films I watched in 2020. Co-written by Felicia A. Pride with Angel Kristi Williams, the movie marks Williams’s directorial debut.
During a virtual festival interview, I watched last year, Pride stated she pitched the first story draft as a Love Jones meets Blue Valentine, which Angel admitted piqued her interest and she requested to read. The pair shot the film two years later in 2018.
Set in Washington D.C., “Really Love” chronicles the love affair of Isaiah (Kofi Siriboe, Girls Trip, Queen Sugar), a brilliant but struggling to break through Black artist, and Stevie (Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing, Love Is) an astute law student at the threshold of her career. Both are forced to reevaluate their whirlwind romance as they face work related challenges and have to decide what takes precedence in their lives.
Simply stated, it’s an everyday story highlighting the everyday highs and lows of relationships with beautiful visuals, remarkable art and a solid soundtrack. But it definitely has an art house vibe – not as creatively mainstream as a Love Jones – and if I’m honest I must say that it lulled a few times in its telling.
Yet, the relationship dynamics explored are interesting and I was invested in the choices that both Stevie and Isaiah would ultimately make.
And there are good performances from both leads and their co-stars including Michael Ealy (The Intruder, Think Like a Man Too), Blair Underwood (Bad Hair) and the late Suzzane Douglas (When They See Us).
I also must admit that when I originally viewed last year, I was disappointed with the ending. But when I streamed again this week, and because my expectation was completely different, I could appreciate the artistic framing of the final shot but I still took issue with the open-ended conclusion. All my sensibilities still wished for a bit more.
I rate it 3 out of 5 on the MMTrometer.
REALLY LOVE premiered August 25 and is streaming now on Netflix.
Until next thought, Thomasena