Sylvie's Love

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Sylvie's Love
Official release poster
Directed byEugene Ashe
Written byEugene Ashe
Produced by
CinematographyDeclan Quinn
Edited byDana Congdon
Music byFabrice Lecomte
  • Iam21 Entertainment
  • Seven Letter Word Films
Distributed byAmazon Studios
Release dates
  • January 27, 2020 (2020-01-27) (Sundance)
  • December 23, 2020 (2020-12-23) (United States)
Running time
114 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States

Sylvie's Love is a 2020 American romantic drama film, written, directed and produced by Eugene Ashe. The film stars Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Ryan Michelle Bathe, Regé-Jean Page, Aja Naomi King, and Eva Longoria.

Sylvie's Love had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27, 2020, and was released on December 23, 2020, by Amazon Studios.


In New York City, 1962, Sylvie is waiting outside Town Hall, while Robert is in a recording studio playing the saxophone. Moments later, Sylvie recognizes Robert on the sidewalk outside a theater.

Five years earlier, Sylvie's father hires Robert to work at his record store in Harlem. Robert is the saxophonist for The Dickie Brewster Quartet, an up-and-coming jazz band from Detroit. Sylvie and Robert bond over their shared love for music; Robert eventually invites Sylvie and her cousin Mona to a gig. Mona has a fling with Robert's bandmate Chico while Sylvie, despite her engagement to a wealthy man named Lacy who is fighting in the Korean War, eventually starts a passionate affair with Robert. Some time later, the Dickie Brewster Quartet's manager, a woman who calls herself the Countess, books them a job in Paris. Robert asks Sylvie to come with him. Sylvie refuses but bids him goodbye before his departure, hiding the fact the she is pregnant with his child from him as not to derail his career.

Back in 1962, Sylvie invites Robert to watch the concert with her. She learns that the band is doing well and is back in New York City to record an album. That night, Sylvie and Robert sleep together before she returns home to Lacy, now a successful businessman, and her daughter Michelle. Sylvie gets a job as a production assistant on a major cooking show produced by a black woman, Kate Spencer, a job Sylvie enjoys despite Lacy's concerns that it will interfere with her duties as a wife. Robert sends Sylvie a ticket to his show, but she sees him in the parking lot with another woman afterwards and leaves.

Sylvie and Robert attend separate New Year's Eve parties. Kate informs Sylvie that she is quitting to get married and is promoting Sylvie to take her place. Tensions spring up around the band; Sid, the record company executive who monitors the band, offers Robert a chance to record his own material. That night, Sylvie's father has a heart attack and passes away; while in the hospital he calls Robert and tells him that Michelle is his daughter. During the funeral, Sylvie and Lacy agree to split up. Robert approaches Sylvie about Michelle's paternity; eventually, she lets him meet Michelle, and Robert moves into her house.

Some time later, Robert approaches Sid about his offer, but Sid turns him down as he believes jazz is dying. Sylvie assures him that she can provide for them while Robert sorts things out. Robert tells Sylvie that he is thinking of contacting an old friend who had offered to put him in touch with Motown musicians, but if the job is successful, they will have to move to Detroit. The job offer turns out to be a fluke; upon returning to New York, Robert realizes that Sylvie loves her career too much for them to move. He tells Sylvie he got the job, but that he will move to Detroit alone. Sylvie tells him to leave. Robert returns to Detroit and gets a job at an auto plant.

The week of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Sylvie comes to D.C. to visit Mona, and runs into Dickie's wife Carmen at the hotel. Carmen informs her that Robert is working at a plant. Mona muses that Robert did not tell her about the auto plant job for the same reason Sylvie did not tell him about the pregnancy: they did not want to destroy the other person's career. Sylvie travels to Detroit and meets Robert at the plant. She tells him she can't be happy without him in her life; the two reconcile.

The end credits intersperse scenes of Robert, Sylvie, and Michelle at the beach with scenes showing that Robert inherited Sylvie's father's saxophone and eventually started performing again, while Sylvie continued to work in production.



In February 2014, it was announced Larenz Tate would star in and produce the film Sylvie’s Love, with Eugene Ashe directing from a screenplay he wrote.[2] In February 2019, it was announced Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha had joined the cast of the film, with Asomugha, Jonathan Baker, Gabrielle Glore, and Matthew Thurm producing the film, while Thompson will serve as an executive producer along with Matthew Rachamkin.[3] In March 2019, Ryan Michelle Bathe, Regé-Jean Page, Aja Naomi King, Eva Longoria, John Magaro, Lance Reddick, Jemima Kirke, MC Lyte, Alano Miller, Erica Gimpel, Tone Bell and Wendi McLendon-Covey joined the cast of the film.[4][5][6][7][8] In April 2019, Ron Funches joined the cast of the film.[9] In October 2020, Ed Weeks joined the cast of the film.[citation needed]


Principal photography began in Los Angeles on February 25, 2019.[10]


It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27, 2020.[11] Shortly after, Amazon Studios acquired distribution rights to the film.[12] It was released on December 23, 2020, after previously scheduled for December 25, 2020.[13][14]


Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 93% approval rating based on 123 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. The website's critic consensus reads: "A romance for the ages, Sylvie's Love wraps audiences in the sweet embrace of its old-fashioned romance and celebration of Black love."[15] Metacritic reports a score of 74 out of 100 based on 25 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[16]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Black Film Critics Circle Awards Best Picture Sylvie's Love Nominated [17]
Black Reel Awards Outstanding Independent Film Eugene Ashe Nominated [18]
Outstanding Actress Tessa Thompson Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design Phoenix Mellow Nominated
Outstanding Original Score Fabrice Lecomte Nominated
Outstanding Emerging Director Eugene Ashe Nominated
Outstanding First Screenplay Nominated
Black Reel Awards for Television Outstanding TV Movie or Limited Series Jonathan T. Baker, Eugene Ashe and Nnamdi Asomugha Nominated [19]
Outstanding Actor, TV Movie/Limited Series Nnamdi Asomugha Nominated
Outstanding Actress, TV Movie/Limited Series Tessa Thompson Nominated
Outstanding Director, TV Movie/Limited Series Eugene Ashe Nominated
Outstanding Writing, TV Movie/Limited Series Won
Outstanding Music (Comedy, Drama, TV Movie or Limited Series) Fabrice Lecomte Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Movie Made for Television Sylvie's Love Nominated [20]
Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Made for Television Tessa Thompson Nominated
Chicago Indie Critics Awards Best Costume Design Phoenix Mellow Nominated [21]
Chlotrudis Awards Best Use of Music in a Film Fabrice Lecomte, Frankie Pine and Steven Argila Nominated [22]
Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Best Period and/or Character Makeup –
Television Special, One Hour or More Live Program Series or Movie for Television
Angela Wells, Angel Radefeld-Wright and Brigitte Hennech Nominated [23]
Best Period Hair Styling and/or Character Hair Styling –
Television Special, One Hour or More Live Program Series or Movie for Television
Carla Joi Farmer, Linda Villalobos, Lillie Frierson and Stacey Morris Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special Sylvie's Love Nominated [24]
Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special Nnamdi Asomugha Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special Tessa Thompson Nominated
Outstanding Directing in a Television Movie or Special Eugene Ashe Won
Outstanding Writing in a Television Movie or Special Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Television Movie Tessa Thompson, Bobbi Sue Luther, Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, Matt Rachamkin, Arinze Okwuadigbo, Obinna Okwuadigbo, Jay Gaines, Carl Daryl Washington, Nnamdi Asomugha, Gabrielle Glore, Jonathan T. Baker, Eugene Ashe and Matthew Thurm Nominated [25]
The ReFrame Stamp Narrative & Animated Feature Sylvie's Love Won [26]
Satellite Awards Best Motion Picture Made for Television Nominated [27]


  1. ^ "Sylvie's Love". Sundance Film Festival. Archived from the original on February 29, 2020. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  2. ^ A. Obenson, Tambay (February 6, 2014). "Larenz Tate Will Star In And Produce 1950s/60s NYC-Set Romantic Drama 'Sylvie's Love'". Indiewire. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  3. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (February 22, 2019). "Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha To Produce & Star In Jazz Era Film 'Sylvie'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  4. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (March 6, 2019). "'Sylvie': Ryan Michelle Bathe, Regé-Jean Page Join Tessa Thompson In Jazz Era Romance Film". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  5. ^ Galuppo, Mia (March 7, 2019). "Aja Naomi King Joins Tessa Thompson in 'Sylvie'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  6. ^ Donnelly, Matt (March 7, 2019). "a Longoria Joins Tessa Thompson in Jazz Drama 'Sylvie' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  7. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (March 8, 2019). "Tessa Thompson/ Nnamdi Asomugha-Starrer 'Sylvie' Rounds Out Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  8. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (March 27, 2019). "'The Goldbergs' Star Wendi McLendon-Covey Joins Tessa Thompson In 'Sylvie'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  9. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (April 2, 2019). "'Hell on Wheels' Star Angela Zhou Joins 'Promising Young Woman'; Ron Funches Cast In 'Sylvie'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 29, 2020. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  10. ^ "Sylvie". Production List. 28 January 2019. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  11. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (December 4, 2019). "Sundance Unveils Female-Powered Lineup Featuring Taylor Swift, Gloria Steinem, Abortion Road Trip Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 8, 2019. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  12. ^ D’Alessandro, Anthony (February 4, 2020). "Sylvie's Love': Amazon Takes Worldwide Rights To Tessa Thompson Pic – Sundance". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  13. ^ Donnelly, Matt (September 29, 2020). "Sylvie's Love' Sets Christmas Release on Amazon Prime Video (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  14. ^ Lancaster, Jessica (November 30, 2020). "Amazon Moves Up 'Sylvie's Love' Premiere". Archived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  15. ^ "Sylvie's Love (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  16. ^ "Sylvie's Love Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  17. ^ Feinberg, Scott (January 21, 2021). "Black Film Critics Circle: 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' Named Best Film of Year (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  18. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (February 18, 2021). "'One Night in Miami', 'Judas and the Black Messiah' Lead Nominations For 21st Annual Black Reel Awards". Deadline. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  19. ^ "Black Reel Awards for Television 2021: Plenty of "Love" in the Heart of the Country!". The Black Reel Awards. 2021-06-17. Retrieved 2021-08-10.
  20. ^ Schneider, Michael (January 18, 2021). "'Ozark,' 'The Crown' and Netflix Lead 26th Annual Critics' Choice Awards TV Nominations". Variety. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  21. ^ "2020 CIC Awards". Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  22. ^ "2021, 27th Annual Awards". Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  23. ^ "Nominations Announced for the 2021 Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards". PR Newswire. 2021-02-18. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  24. ^ "52nd NAACP Image Awards on BET". NAACP. Archived from the original on February 3, 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  25. ^ "Sylvie's Love". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  26. ^ "Feature Film – ReFrame". The ReFrame Stamp. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  27. ^ "2020 Winners". International Press Academy. Retrieved February 15, 2021.

External links[edit]