Sylvie’s Love Is Oldfashioned & Nostalgic

Sylvie’s Love(Amazon Prime Video)

Sylvie’s Love

 Starring   Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha

Rating: ***

  There is  a kind of clemency criticism at  work  in the  evaluation of certain films. While other films with the same qualities would be  hauled  over the coals, here the work is praised for being filled with clichés  of  the  romantic genre: Boy Meets  Girl.  But  Girl is  engaged to marry  Rich Suitor. But she can’t resist the pangs  of love. They make out with Boy. She gets pregnant.Is forced to marry Rich Suitor after her mom admonishes  her  with a Beti-pyar-se-pet-nahin-bharta lecture.Girl is  deeply unhappy in  the marriage(ref:  Aishwarya Rai  in  Hum…Dil  De Chuke Sanam) . Meets Dream  Boy again by chance. Their mutual passion is re-ignited.

 Do  I need to go on with where this is going? Sylvie’s Love is  blissfully insulated from extraneous reality and  suffused with all the expected twists and turns of a typical love  story. There isn’t one  surprise  here.Unless  you are so naïvely romantic that your mouth would fall open in a  clear ‘O’( O  for  ‘Oh Dear’,  not  ‘Orgasm’)   when Sylvie confesses to Robert  that her daughter is his, theirs.

Admitedly Sylvie’s Love is  a  charming  if not  a heady concoction.  A  cocktail  of  romantic yearning and star-crossed  love where the lead  pair seems lopsided  mainly because Tessa  Thompson who plays Sylvie is so much more charismatic  than the male lead. She  blossoms under luscious the nostalgic lenses   of cinematographer Declan Quinn and  emerges  at the end as  the classic heroine  from another era, so gentle  and graceful.

Speaking of era, the  1950s is  beautifully recreated  through the magical  rock and roll sounds  of the era. Like  Chadwick Boseman   in  Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the hero Nnamdi Asomugha in Sylvie’s Love is a part  of  a musical band in the 1950s-60s,  far more talented than  the  other band members , yet relegated  to the  background and  finally pushed  out of his rightful  place at the  top.

 I am afraid  Nnamdi Asomugha (who apropos nothing is one of the producers of this  film) lacks  the staying-power  of    a true romantic hero. He  is  dull  and  glaringly disadvantaged  in comparison with  his co-star who is a natural-born in   front of the  camera. The  actor  who plays Sylvie’s husband( Alana Miller) seems  far more  correct  for Sylvie. In the  sequence where Sylvie tells him she will follow her dreams, he is  more effective in conveying the emotions of a man who has everything except reciprocated  love than the romantic lead in conveying the emotions of  a man who has  his love but insists on denying it.

 There is  no real  dramatic conflict in   the  story. Everything moves like a well-oiled machinery. The  pitch of narration is moderate, the lovers are  coy(no  nudity during love-making) and the hero asks the heroine’s permission before kissing her the  first time.

 Okay, then.

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