The Photograph strongly resembles a Hallmark Channel movie, but with an African-American cast. And, instead of that one chaste kiss at the end of many Hallmark movies, The Photograph has just enough mild sexual content to merit a PG-13 rating.
Here are a few Hallmark Channel movie tropes that appear in The Photograph:
- One of the characters is a journalist. Michael (LaKeith Stanfield) is a writer for a New York based magazine.
- One of the characters leaves her small hometown for the big city, but comes back home to visit. Christina (Chanté Adams) is a photographer who leaves Louisiana for New York.
- One of the characters spends a lot of time reading a letter left by a person who is no longer around. Mae (Issa Rae) reads and rereads the letter left by her mother who is recently deceased.
- One of the characters has a parent die. (See #3.)
- One of the characters stays in the small town and has a reunion with one who comes back. Isaac (Rob Morgan) is one who is left behind.
- A surprising revelation occurs. Although some might say, “I saw that coming!” (Sorry, no spoiler here.)
- A number of coincidences move the plot along. (No spoilers here either.)
- Several conversations include glasses of wine.
- Romantic attraction for the two main characters, Michael and Mae, is obvious to the audience if not to the characters.
- Family members caution against moving too fast into a serious relationship. Michael’s brother Kyle (Lil Rey Howery) shares his thoughts over wine and beer.
- A sad goodbye.
- A happy ending. (Well, duh.)
Stanfield and Rae each have lots of charisma and they have great onscreen chemistry. The parallel tales of the two generations are presented with a bit of melodrama—but that’s a good thing.
The Photograph is a romantic movie for grownups. Yes, the film was written and directed by a woman, Stella Meghie.
Like many Hallmark Channel movies it touches emotional buttons, it has some contrived plot elements and most of the situations get resolved in satisfying ways.