“The Photograph” hits multiple spots as it develops a mother/daughter relationship, a romantic relationship, as well as explores one woman’s struggle with the concept of love.
|Screenplay By||Stella Meghie|
|Date Released (Theatrical)||2/13/2020|
|Duration||1 Hour, 46 Minutes|
|(Young) Isaac||Y’Lan Noel|
|(Older) Isaac||Rob Morgan|
|Kyle||Lil Rel Howery|
|Louis||Courtney B. Vance|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
The Photograph Ending Spoilers
There are multiple reveals and decisions, and, as noted before, to understand anything which happens with Mae, you need to remember what happened with Christina. So, lest we forget, despite being a few months pregnant, with Isaac’s baby, Mae, Christina leaves Louisiana, with little notice to anyone, and goes to New York since she doesn’t want the highlight of her day, never mind life, being Isaac’s little wife, cooking him meals, and being stuck in some small town. This is important for it establishes Christina’s inability to say goodbye, which is why, when Mae goes off to school in Chicago, Christina intentionally doesn’t send her off and lets her stepfather do so.
Following that, there is a need to note Christina failing to convince Isaac to join her in New York, for he was comfortable down south. Also, Christina pouring herself into her work. Both of these issues show up in Mae by her cutting down Mike talking about her and him being a long distance and trying to end things just as they venture from being casual and now having to put in the work to have a relationship.
Lastly, taking note Christina’s mother hid her sickness so she could die in peace, or at least as the person her daughter knew her as, Christina does the same to Mae. Making it so, a month after her death, Mae’s discovery of her mother’s letters shake her. For it is with her mother’s letters, chronicling her life and mistakes, paired with meeting Mike, who tests whether Mae is learning from her mother’s past, that their relationship develops. Ultimately making it so, unlike her mother, and possibly her grandmother, Mae is open about her feelings, communicates and shows vulnerability to who she wants, and needs, to show it to the most, and gets to have both the joys of a career and of a stimulating relationship as well.
The film ends with Mae and Mike dating. Not even serious, that’s bae, my girlfriend/boyfriend, level dating. They both got money so Mae can buy her and Mike a Kendrick Lamar ticket and she can hop on a plane and be like “Hey…” So seeing them move beyond that and try to make it work, it could make it so Louis, Mae’s adoptive father, can further Christina’s story as well as bridge the gap between the early 90s, when we last see Christina, and Christina’s passing. Both in terms of how he handled their relationship, as well as raising what he knew was another man’s child, alongside Mae dealing with not having the kind of mother she desired.
 Note: Mike’s phone says it is September 30th and considering what they say about Drake and Kanye, they’d have to be in the future since the last September 30th was in 2010. And the way they talk about Kanye would have to be present or future Kanye, considering it is noted they miss Kanye who was about music and less about decor.