The Photograph

2020

The Photograph

Critics Consensus

Gorgeous visuals, an affecting love story, and simmering chemistry between Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield keep The Photograph solidly in focus.

76%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 83

81%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 6,217
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Movie Info

When famed photographer Christina Eames unexpectedly dies, she leaves her estranged daughter Mae Morton (Issa Rae) hurt, angry and full of questions. When a photograph tucked away in a safe-deposit box is found, Mae finds herself on a journey delving into her mother's early life and ignites a powerful, unexpected romance with a rising-star journalist, Michael Block (LaKeith Stanfield).

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Critic Reviews for The Photograph

All Critics (83) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (63) | Rotten (20)

  • Lakeith Stanfield and Issa Rae do wonderful work as people with an instant connection.

    February 25, 2020 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The American black experience has been the definition of pain; however, we do experience joy, fun, and love like every other race. We also experience success, and that is silently the most powerful element of The Photograph.

    February 19, 2020 | Full Review…

    D. Watkins

    Salon.com
    Top Critic
  • It is so good. It is so lovely, and beautifully acted, [and] gorgeously shot.

    February 15, 2020 | Rating: 8.8/10 | Full Review…
  • It's a little too soft and soupy.

    February 15, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Love, romantic or otherwise, is complicated. The Photograph reminds us that familial love is the root of how we love others.

    February 14, 2020 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • For a Valentine's trip to the movies, you couldn't wish for a hotter and more talented pair of lovers than Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield. Too bad the movie snuffs out their spark with cliches and over-complicated flashbacks.

    February 14, 2020 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Photograph

  • Feb 14, 2020
    The Photograph is a romantic drama that is unfortunately tethered to three very uninteresting lead characters. They all have potential; a journalist (Lakeith Stanfield) getting closer to a story than he anticipated, a woman (Issa Rae) learning more about her artistic, ambitious, and self-involved mother (Chante Adams) after her death. The problem is that these characters all feel trapped in boxes, confined, and the personal growth onscreen is minimal. Sure, we still get the boy-meets-girl and boy-loses-girl paces expected but there's precious little depth given to these people. It feels like writer/director Stella Meghie (Everything Everything) should be mining more insights and revelations from this mother/daughter re-examination, but by the end we haven't learned anything we didn't already know in the first thirty minutes. It's a strange experience because even as things are, on paper, moving forward, the movie feels stagnant. This is also a byproduct of the nascent chemistry between Stanfield and Rae, two genial, good-looking people that just don't have that spark or urgency when they're comfortably close. It's a movie that seems to stay in the same languid gear throughout the movie, even as the couple is progressively getting closer. It's a competently made movie with good actors but my mind kept wandering and wondering what a full movie following the mother chasing her dreams might resemble, or a full movie following Lil Rel Howery (Get Out) and his adorable family, the character who entertained me the most. The story elements are here for an engaging and potent romantic drama but the mix feels undercooked and stale. Nate's Grade: C+
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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