Sylvie's Love is a 2020 romantic drama film by Eugene Ashe.
Tessa Thompson stars as the titular Sylvie, a young woman in 1950's Harlem who bonds with aspiring jazz saxophonist Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha) over their shared love for music, and the two eventually have a summer fling. When they reconnect five years later, Sylvie now married and Robert's jazz career taken to dizzying heights, they realize that their feelings for each other have not diminished, and the two consider the changes and sacrifices they will have to make if they want to be together.
Supporting actors include Aja Naomi King (as Sylvie's cousin Mona), Ryan Michelle Bathe as (Sylvie's boss Kate), Lance Reddick (as Sylvie's father), Alano Miller (as Sylvie's husband Lacy), Tone Bell and Regé-Jean Page (as Robert's bandmates Dickie and Chico), Jemima Kirke (as the band's manager), and John Magaro (as their record executive Sid).
The film was released on December 23, 2020 on Prime Video.
- Affectionate Nickname: Mona calls her beloved cousin Sylvie "kiddo".
- Big Applesauce: Mid-century New York City provides the dreamy, jazzy backdrop to Sylvie and Robert's romance.
- Contrived Coincidence:
- Robert and Sylvie's first reunion — he just happened to be back in New York, recording an album, and paused outside a concert hall she was waiting in the lobby of.
- Sylvie learns Robert is working at an auto plant and not as a Motown musician because she happened to bump into Carmen, of all people, in a hotel in Washington DC.
- Costume Porn: The costuming of the '50s and '60s is out in full force; Sylvie and Mona don many put-together and fashionable ensembles throughout the film.
- Dance of Romance: As a sign of their love, Robert and Sylvie slow-dance thrice: the first is a truncated one after she first sees him perform, the next in the street following a party, and the third at a restaurant after they can finally be together.
- Disposable Fiancé: Lacy makes it further than "fiance", but when he realizes at the end of the second act that he and Sylvie are incompatible and she only has eyes for Robert, he gracefully exits the story after five years of marriage.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: The bulk of the story is set in the early sixties when the Civil Rights Movement was still incipient, and so the attitudes of the time affect the characters.
- Lacy's co-worker's wife implies she thinks Lacy landed a big account because he's black and the company is in trouble with the NAACP.
- Sylvie comments to Kate that she didn't think she would ever see a female black TV producer. Her husband is less than enthused with the demands of her job.
- The star of Sylvie's show, Lucy Wolper, is a classic midcentury Housewife for the cameras but brash and funny off it. When Sylvie considers letting Lucy be herself onscreen, Kate scoffs that the censors will never allow it.
- Family Versus Career: A consistent theme.
- Sylvie's father gave up his music career to start a family.
- Sylvie did not want to make Robert choose between family and career, so she didn't tell him she was pregnant before he left for a huge European gig.
- Robert later pays her back for it: he moves to Detroit by himself so she doesn't have to give up her dream producing job.
- Girls Like Musicians: Sylvie and Mona fall for Robert and Chico the night they see them play jazz.
- Give the Baby a Father: Sylvie was pregnant with Robert's child when her fiance Lacy returned from the Korean War, but Lacy still agreed to marry her for the child, which Sylvie comments was very noble.
- In-Series Nickname: Robert is "B-flat" to his musical coworkers.
- Like Parent, Like Spouse: Sylvie falls in love with Robert, who is a saxophonist like her father was.
- New Year Has Come: Quite a few pivotal examples happen at the separate NYE parties Robert and Sylvie attend: the Dickie Brewster Quartet starts to fracture, Sylvie is promoted, and before he dies, Sylvie's father tells Robert that Sylvie's daughter is his.
- Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: In the first act, Robert is the Poor Suitor (an aspiring musician employed by her father) and the offscreen Lacy is the Rich Suitor (his father is a successful doctor) for Sylvie's hand.
- Show Within a Show: The Lucy Wolper Show, a successful cooking show that Sylvie joins the set of and eventually ends up producing.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Lacy's attitudes towards Sylvie's job fit in with The '60s. He's fine with Sylvie working...as long as it doesn't interfere with her duties at home. And given that he's just landed a big account, he tells her she can afford to stop, missing that she enjoys the work.
- You Are a Credit to Your Race: Lacy's co-worker's wife lauds the Parkers for barely seeming (what she considers) black, as they're affluent folks with good jobs.