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The Photograph Is The No Trauma ‘Black Love’ Story We’ve Been Waiting For

The Photograph Movie Review: No Trauma, Just Black Love

This week, not only did I get to see The Photograph before it releases on Valentine’s Day, but I also got to attend the World Premiere here in NYC.

(Which was great by the way!)

However, it took a while for my brain to process everything I had watched on screen. Much longer than I thought it would!

Being a Black single mom, who’s also a “creative”, and tries to put so much into her work so she can make it here in NYC, this movie resonated hard for several reasons.

So I’m glad I had a day to process my feelings before sitting down to write this movie review because even though The Photograph was great, I just needed some time to sit and bask in its glory before talking about it.

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My Review Of The Photograph

the photograph movie 2020

No trauma, just Black love … this is what love should look and feel like.

Remember when Queen and Slim came out a few months ago and everyone threw a god damn fit because it was too “traumatic”?

Remember how they screamed from the top of their lungs, all over social media, that they wanted a Black love story without trauma?

Well, guess what?!

The Photograph is just that! There’s absolutely NO trauma in this story.

I was triggered by a few things, because of my own childhood, but when it comes to each couple’s love story, there were small situations, like puddles you could probably jump over without landing in them if you tried hard enough!

You know the ones I’m talking about! The puddles at the corner of the street that seem and look like it’s too hard to jump over without accidentally getting your feet wet, but then you magically jump over it and you’re like “whew, I made it”.

Yeah, those! That’s what these situations were like.

Cause yes they weren’t all perfect, no one is, and I don’t wanna see perfect love on-screen when we all know it doesn’t exist. However, their situations could be worked through, and it was up to them to try and jump or abort mission altogether.

So you can just go thank Will Packer (the producer) and Stella Meghie (the writer and director) now for such a wonderful display of Black love because lord only knows when we’re gonna get another one of these again!

the photograph movie review

Listen, The Photograph was so good I didn’t even know my friend had fallen asleep!

First of all, I don’t even know how her ass fell asleep in the first place! Lol

I was captivated by the movie the whole damn time! Literally, I was staring at the screen, taking my notes, and just smiling, like I was the one blissfully in love or some shit. Lol I couldn’t look away! The story was just that good.

And I love the way they told everyone’s story, mixing the present with the past. It wasn’t confusing like the storyline in the Little Women movie.

It flowed effortlessly. Stella really did a great job writing this thang.

However, if you’re single and you’re going to see The Photograph with your friends, good luck!

No seriously! This movie had me messed up! Like,  I can’t watch anything else romantic for a while. Lol I’m over here in my feelings and shit, like “I wanna be in love too damn it! Look how happy they are.”

The whole time I watched the movie I kept wishing I had someone to lay on. This one ain’t for the girls sis, this a date night movie! This is that cuddle up with yo man and be happy you found the one movie. Or just go by yourself and indulge for a moment and stare at what love should really look like.

the photograph lil rel

It’s also not a rom-com, but there are some funny moments.

I love rom-coms, but The Photograph just ain’t it! Despite the funny moments, this is truly a romance movie and I love it the way it is.

There’s just the right amount of humor to get you through this movie without crying, but honestly, Stella focused solely on each person’s love story and I love it.

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Had there been too many jokes, and had this been a rom-com, it would have lost its power. Similar to when we get a compliment, but we don’t know how to accept them, so we make a joke or say something stupid to deflect the attention elsewhere.

Yeah, that’s what this would have been like as a rom-com. Too much comedy and we get lost in the humor and no longer feel the true power of their love.

the photograph 2020

The music score was incredible and a big reminder that Black folks listen to more than just hip hop.

Okay, so before I jump into the scoring and all that jazz … literally. Lol Stella mentioned that she was grateful for her big music budget.

And every time I hear Anderson .Paak in a film I literally have to stop myself from jumping for joy, right up outta my seat. Lol I love his music, and I love that he’s been in so many films recently. So when I heard one of his songs, as the very first song, in this movie, I knew we were off to a great start!

But anywho, when was the last time y’all watched a dope movie that didn’t have hip hop in it? Like seriously! Even the movies that aren’t geared towards Black folks use hip hop to drive their action scenes.

(Which I find insane since it be the same damn movies with like one Black person in it but yet they wanna use Black folks music right? Cool whatever!)

However, there wasn’t a lick of hip hop in this joint! How crazy is that! You’d think a movie geared towards Black people, about Black people, would have hip hop in it, but nope! And I love it!

Because hip hop ain’t the only damn genre of music we listen too! We listen to classical, we listen to rock, we listen to country, we listen to jazz, like seriously now!

And the fact that this movie thrived on a Jazz score was just a great reminder of this.

the-photograph-lakieth-stanfield-issa-rae

Now some of y’all gon say this movie is boring because there was no drama, no violence, no fighting, and you, my friend, are the problem!

The same way I loved The Circle because it was a reality tv show with absolutely no drama, and the same way I love Family Reunion because it’s cheesy aka again, no drama, is the same way I love The Photograph because there was no drama.

I personally, don’t know a married Black couple that isn’t going through it, who’s madly in love and isn’t fighting all the time!

It’s insane but it’s true, and honestly, it’s freaking sad AF.

So to have a movie about the love I know I deserve and want is refreshing. I’m at the point of my life where, if it’s hard AF I don’t want it. If I have to pull teeth to get you to talk to me, it’s not gonna work.

I’m not saying there’s not going to be problems, but at the end of the day, I don’t want love that feels like a chore. I wanna be happy in love, not madly in love, there’s a big difference.

And I just liked seeing Black love with no screaming, no fighting, no cheating, no baby mama drama, no ex-girl/boyfriend drama, nada!

If that’s not for you, then maybe you need to go watch something else then. There are a few other movies coming out this weekend – go watch Fantasy Island or some shit man, cause I don’t know what to tell you.

All in all, The Photograph was a reminder to Black women (and Black men) that love doesn’t have to be hard, or messy.

And this is what we’ve all been waiting for! So I’m grateful for Will and Stella bringing this to the big screen, as well as the cast and crew.

the photograph movie ending

P.s – The ending is perfect! And if I haven’t already made this clear – you need to go see The Photograph this weekend!

And you can’t tell me otherwise! The ending was like a damn good buttercream icing, on an already amazing chocolate cake! Lol

And that’s all I’m gonna say about that because I’m not the type to give spoilers before people have had a chance to see it.

So please make sure you go see it this weekend!

Y’all talked all that hot shit last year when Queen and Slim came out, and part of the reason movies like this don’t make it to the big screen, is because people don’t go out and see it! You’d rather see the trauma filled stories, overloaded with drama and violence than the lovey-dovey, romance film you beg ever so often for.

Don’t do that this year! Go see The Photograph, even if you have to go see it alone. Cause it’s totally worth seeing alone!

Grab tickets to see The Photograph here.

The Photograph Movie Review: No Trauma, Just Black Love

You May Also Wanna Check Out:

Someone Asked Issa Rae If She Was Dropping An Album Soon And Here’s Her Hilarious Response

Issa Rae Said Her Mama Told Her This Toxic Advice About Love During A Q&A

12 Of The Best Quotes From The Photograph

A Recap Of The NYC World Premiere Of The Photograph

And if you liked my movie review of The Photograph, check out these other posts about Black films & TV Shows:

Queen And Slim Solidifies That Lena Waithe Is A Beast With A Pen

‘A Fall From Grace’ Felt Like A HS Performance Until The Last 10 Mins

Astronomy Club On Netflix Is Dope AF

100 Movies You’ve Probably Watched More Than Once If You’re A Black Millennial

Listen, If You Haven’t Seen Raising Dion On Netflix Yet I’m Gonna Need You To Cancel Your Plans This Weekend


P.s – Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to hit the share button below so your friends can read this awesome post as well. Comments are always appreciated and responded to. So gon’ and tell me how you REALLY feel! Thanks in advance! Now click around and read something else. Lol There are lots of suggestions below!

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Written by Shaye Wyllie

Shaye is an Entertainment Writer from Brooklyn, NY and a big fan of anything and everything superpowers related (especially if kids/teens are involved), cooking + baking shows (like MasterChef Junior and Cupcake Wars), teen dramas, sitcoms, comedies, and legal dramas. When she's not binging the latest series on Netflix or writing, you can find her spilling her thoughts on the Brown Side of Disney Chat or creating YouTube videos with her daughter for their new family site, Popcorn and Tater Tots.

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    • You’re right! But it wasn’t really a feature. Like Anderson .Paak does hip hop and his song was the first played, but that wasn’t a feature either. It wasn’t driven by hip hop. That’s what I meant. This was 98% Jazz.

  1. “I’m at the point of my life where, if it’s hard AF I don’t want it. If I have to pull teeth to get you to talk to me, it’s not gonna work.” Just turned 29, and couldn’t agree more with this!!! I was just telling someone Steady Love by India Aire is what I’m looking for, if you can’t give that, I don’t want you! Loved this review and agreed with most of what you said! The movie was amazing! I too enjoyed that there wasn’t a lot of hip hop in the movie!

  2. Great post! You really embodied the essence of the movie & the exact feelings a lot of us felt while watching it! You’re right, there’s no telling when we’ll get another movie of this status, however, there’s this new show on OWN entitled “Cherish the Day” & it gives you very similiar feels of this movie. It comes on every Tuesday at 10 pm. If you loved The Photograph, I highly recommend you check out this show!

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