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Film Review: LaKeith Stanfield and Issa Rae Develop the Overly Subdued “The Photograph”

Written by: Patrick Howard | February 14th, 2020

Film poster: “The Photograph”

The Photograph (Stella Meghie, 2020) 2½ out of 4 stars.

In Stella Meghie’s The Photograph, LaKeith Stanfield plays a journalist working on a story about a Louisiana fisherman and the woman he loved, who walked out of his life forever. Once LaKeith learns the name of this lost beloved, he discovers her daughter, played by Issa Rae, and the photos that defined a love affair for the ages.

The Photograph revels in the physical intimacy commonly seen in romantic dramas, but Meghie does something astonishing. She challenges this intimacy and pushes it to see how it will last in a relationship demanding a real future. Stanfield and Rae are electric. Their chemistry shines well enough when they have their first couple of dates in the film, but it doesn’t take long to sense something deeper: a feeling as though they’ve always known each other.

LaKeith Stanfield and Issa Rae in THE PHOTOGRAPH ©Universal Pictures

Stella Meghie expertly dodges a number of the clichés of the romantic genre. The Photograph exudes a genuine, laid-back vibe that’s perfect for any date night. This atmosphere may be too chill for some viewers. The overall message of the film doesn’t hit as hard as you would want. However, I would counter argue that the film lives for the moments when two lovers can simply lounge and talk.


Patrick Howard has been a cinephile since age seven. Alongside 10 years of experience in film analysis and criticism, he is a staunch supporter of all art forms and believes their influence and legacy over human culture is vital. Mr. Howard takes the time to write his own narrative stories when he can.

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