The first trailer for The Photograph immediately sets the scene: Rae plays Mae Morton, whose mother, famous photographer Christina Eames , has died suddenly, leaving her without any sense of closure. Theirs was a fraught relationship, and Mae finds herself angry and hurt — until she finds an old black and white photograph hidden a safety deposit box that may hold the key to her mother’s life story. Around the same time, Mae meets Michael Block (Stanfield), an up-and-coming journalist writing a story about her mother’s career. Together, they strive to solve the mystery of Christina’s past — and fall in love in the process. But can it last?
Stanfield and Rae are undeniably funny people, but while The Photograph definitely delivers on quippy one-liners, it’s not exactly a rom-com. Think The Notebook, rather than Set It Up. The trailer, set to H.E.R.’s “Hard Place,” is moody, full of warm lighting, saturated colours, and palpable sexual tension.
The idea of talent like Rae and Lakeith pairing up is exciting enough, but add in the fact that The Photograph was written and directed by Stellie Meghie, one of the few Black women working on a studio-level today, and this project takes on a whole new level of importance. In 2017 Meghie’s Everything Everything was the only studio movie directed by a Black woman. Her next film, an indie called The Weekend starring Sasheer Zamata, Tone Bell, and DeWanda Wise, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival to positive reviews. After The Photograph, she’ll be teaming up with Rae once more, this time for American Princess, a rom-com produced by Paul Feig.
Judging by this trailer, we’ll all know her name very soon. The Photograph hits theaters on February 14, 2020.