The courtship of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be depicted on movie screens across the nation this weekend. The Richard Tanne-directed drama, Southside With You, highlights the famed first date of the future First Couple in Chicago.
Actress Tika Sumpter plays the confident Michelle Robinson, who in 1989 was a first-year associate attorney at the Chicago law firm of Sidley & Austin. At the time, Mr. Obama was a Harvard Law School prodigy in his first year who was given the rare position of summer associate. Robinson was Obama’s mentor, and the film highlights the future First Lady’s attempt to thwart an office romance.
In accounts that date back to just before Obama was elected president, the couple’s first date was the stuff of legend. To many, the perpetually blissful Obamas are embodiment of pure love and their enduring romance inspires many couples to this day. However, Obama had to first win the heart of the serious, career-driven Robinson.
The film hurries a lot of the real-life details along, but it does focus on the ease in which love blossomed between the pair. In reports, the couple said that their first movie date together was to see Spike Lee’s intense summer drama, Do The Right Thing.
Mrs. Obama, who said she dated her share of “smooth brothers,” wasn’t immediately impressed with her future husband. She remarked in interviews that he was poorly dressed and a chatty chain-smoker. Even today, President Obama usually defers to his wife’s intellect and classic beauty at almost every chance he’s given.
Though the movie premiered at Sundance earlier this year, no one knows if the Obamas have seen it. Both actors have told reporters they hope the Obamas are happy with their portrayals. And although the movie is the backstory of the marriage of a political couple, there’s no specific agenda the filmmakers were trying to convey, as the couple were both private citizens at the time.
“We didn’t want it to take away from the origin story we were trying to present,” Sumpter told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Are there themes throughout? Of course, like the conversations anyone would have. But it’s definitely not a political story. It’s a love story,”
The Obamas, who married in 1992 in Chicago, are now in the 24th year of their union and the proud parents of daughters Malia, 18, and Sasha, 15.