Reel Reviews | Really Love

by Charles Kirkland Jr.

A painter and a law student find love on the streets of the Nation’s Capitol in the romantic drama, Really Love.

Isaiah is struggling to make a breakthrough.  He was a star in art school but he has yet to have a featured piece yet alone the solo show that his classmates have already achieved.  Stevie is a Georgetown law student with aspirations for success (and a family that demands it).  When they meet, they quickly discover that their passion is just as big as the drive.  Which will win?

Written by Felicia Pride and Angel Kristi Williams, Really Love stars Kofi Siriboe, Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing, Uzo Aduba, Naturi Naughton, Michael Ealy, Blair Underwood, and Suzzanne Douglas in her final role.  The film is also directed by Angel Kristi Williams in her feature film debut.

Set in Washington, DC, Really Love feels really genuine.  It has authentic shots of the city, not the usual stock photos that are seen in other films.  Ben’s Chili Bowl, the U Street Corridor, the Shaw segment of the city are all featured in the film and even a go-go band plays at a club at the beginning of the movie.  The touches of DC are not limited to the scenery.  Director Williams presents a very good representation of life in the DC area right down to the language and the dialect that some of the actors use.  Overcoming a couple of editing gaffes, Williams composes a film that does a pretty good job of capturing the look of a modern-day African-American love story that rarely gets to be seen. 

The story seems very simplistic and straightforward.  While the story is an improvement of the classic bad guy from the wrong side of the tracks meets the prima donna girl story, there is absolutely nothing that helps the audience understand why these two are in love.  Siriboe and Wong-Loi-Sing have supernova chemistry together but when Stevie asks Isaiah to move in with her, even he agrees with the audience by saying “Are we ready for that?”  As the story would have the audience believe, the love between them seems to arise from a series of booty calls.  Not your classic romantic tale, but this, again, is a modern-day love story.  If anything, this story gives an accurate picture of the difficulty for two Black professionals juggling love and career in the world of today.

From its hip soundtrack to its tone to the perfect capturing of African-American skin tones, this movie is heartbreakingly beautiful, start to finish.  For her first full-length feature film, Angel Kristi Williams makes an impressively strong first impression in her direction.  Love feels like an update of Love Jones and Williams, a resident of Baltimore, confesses her inspiration from that film and the culture of Washington, DC.

Rated TV-MA for nudity, language, sexual situations, smoking, and drug use, Really Love is as beautiful a piece of art like the ones that Isaiah creates in the film.  It is real.  It is positive.  It is DC, done well.

Really Love is now showing on Netflix. 

Grade:  B