by Kate Beeby and Caroline Johnston
The Photograph tells a love story between characters Mike and Mae, and how the past brings them together to find love. Mae’s mother, a famed photographer named Christina, dies, leaving Mae full of questions. When opening her mother’s safe deposit box, Mae discovers a letter her mother wrote to her before her passing, and she then attempts to unravel her mother’s past, using the letter as inspiration. Along her journey, she meets an investigative journalist, Mike, who is also researching aspects of her mother’s early life. Mike and Mae team up to investigate the past, focusing Christina and Issac, an important man from Christina’s past. Along this journey, an unexpected love develops between Mike and Mae, and the story takes a turn towards focusing on their relationship rather than solely their research. Through the struggles of present day and the past, viewers are exposed to the meaning of true love and sacrifice for what one is passionate about.
While the plot of the movie was confusing at times, we enjoyed how the time jumped from Christina’s and Isaac’s relationship in the mid to late 1980’s to Mike and Mae’s relationship in modern day. The side by side time comparisons revealed similarities between Mae and her mother, despite being quite different in reality. Whether Mae and Mike were dancing at the same bar that her mother had gone to with her boyfriend Isaac or spending time in Christina’s dark room, the movie shows how the times may have changed but the same love can still exist. We also really liked how the movie’s main characters, Mae and Christina, were both very strong independent women. Christina was a very inspiring character because she gave up everything she had in Louisiana to go pursue her dream of being a photographer in New York, even though it meant she had to leave her boyfriend behind. It must have been really hard for Christina to leave her family, but since she worked so hard, her sacrifices were worth it for her success. We liked Mae’s character as well because of how strong she was and how she was also a self-made art curator. Mae was not very close with her mother, but committed to uncovering the parts of her mother’s life that she did not know; this determination was very impressive. It was important that the main cast consisted of people of color because they all can act as role models, especially Christina and Mae, to many younger people of color who may feel that their dreams are unachievable, but with the inspiration of these characters, they may take a risk to pursue their passion.