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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
It takes empathy, curiosity, and real conversation to truly get to know someone. That also means letting yourself be vulnerable, which takes its own kind of courage.
Positive Role Models
As portrayed here, young Barack Obama is an idealist who knows how to listen to people and is genuinely interested in their well-being. When he's wrong, he's willing to admit it and remedy it. Michelle is depicted as a devoted daughter who's keenly aware of the sociological forces that stand in the way of women, especially black women, and success in the workplace. She dreams of changing the world.
Violence & Scariness
A scene from the movie Do the Right Thing that shows a man being choked by the police plays a pivotal part in the film, and there's discussion about race riots. Also frank discussion about racist treatment in the Ivy Leagues.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A quick kiss.
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Infrequent swearing includes "s--t," "ass," "damn," and one use of "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Baskin-Robbins shows up in a scene.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some beer drinking at a bar. Smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Southside with You re-creates (with dramatic license) Barack and Michelle Obama's Before Sunrise-esque first date in 1989, long before their time in the White House. The two main characters are portrayed as idealists who are determined to change the world for the better. Expect some social drinking (beer), smoking, and swearing (including one use of "f--k"), as well as and lots and lots of conversation, much of it thought-provoking and compelling. Characters talk about about race riots and racist treatment in the Ivy Leagues. Themes include empathy, curiosity, and courage -- especially the kind it takes to allow yourself to be vulnerable to someone else. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
One of the biggest pleasures of this romantic drama is watching two conversational and intellectual heavyweights go toe-to-toe on their first date (or rather, non-date). Southside with You is full of interesting dialog and discussions that really follow the natural arc of conversations. Kudos to Sumter and Sawyers, who -- in the way they depict everything from how Barack lights a cigarette to how Michelle defuses an argument -- reveal both the strengths and the challenges of this relationship. Like the Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight series, this movie depends on its stars' verbal and mental dexterity, and they don't disappoint. Sawyers has nearly all of the president's mannerisms down: His walk has the confident grace; his cadence, the oratorical patterns of the actual president.
Sometimes watching Southside with You does feel a bit like eavesdropping on a conversation that's better left private, and the pace can get frustratingly slow. And sometimes, given that the two characters, after all, eventually become the president and first lady, it can feel like you're watching Mom and Dad go on their first date. But overall, it's worth it to be the third wheel, so to speak.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.