Claptons will probably be back tomorrow, but I'll just go ahead and tell -- the movie is unique because it includes a sexual relationship between a black male and a white female without that relationship being the entire focus of the story.
Think about it -- have you ever seen that anywhere else? The answer, I'm almost positive, is no you haven't. The rare black guy/white girl pairings you see in movies are movies where race relations is the key theme of the story. Which sort of takes some of the progressiveness away from it.
Minorities (of any kind) in film are almost never just another character. They're always carrying the flag of their identity. You can see how Rachel Getting Married subverts this -- Tunde is Rachel's fiance/husband, and nothing more. That is so unbelievably rare, and was a seriously risky choice by the filmmakers. Odd to figure, since he's ultimately not a terribly important character (the movie's not about Rachel's wedding, it's about Kim learning to forgive herself for killing her brother).
Can you think of any other movies where a minority (of any kind, really -- race, gender, sexual orientation, disability status) was simply a character and not forced to carry the flag of their identity? I really can't, except for the one major exception. Black people in film are all but inevitably either "the black guy" in the story, or they're in some Tyler Perry walled enclave (which is the same deal). I can think of one disabled actor who isn't always forced to be "the guy in the wheelchair," and that's Daryl Mitchell. Of course, he began his career able-bodied (he was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident at the age of 36) and it's far from a rule with even him.
The big exception to the race issue is Will Smith. Even among the great black actors we have currently -- Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Samuel L Jackson, Forest Whitaker, Don Cheadle... -- Will Smith is the only one who is routinely getting roles not specifically written to be played by a black actor. So he, and perhaps he alone, is as frequently "just another character" as straight white men would be. But even he has never had a white wife in any of his films.
We think of ourselves as progressive, but if Will Smith and Monica Potter were a married couple in a movie, wouldn't that seem off somehow? Even though there are many thousands of couples that look just like that in real life.
What I'm (eventually) getting around to is how I'm trying to subvert this in my own screenwriting. It's not nearly as easy as it would seem, but I've developed a story that's getting pretty close to completion. It centers on a lesbian couple, but that is incidental and certainly not played for any direct effect. The story would work just as well if a man and a woman or two men were the central characters. The genre might best be described as a 'romantic epic.' The relationship itself is absolutely critical to the story, but the specific combination of gonads is not.
Do you think you would pay to see a movie like that?
Do you think this will ever be mainstream? And by that I mean not only movies like the one I'm writing, but also gay relationships (I'm a little extra aware of this specific point, for obvious reasons, but do take to heart the comments I made about racial and disability minorities too) existing in mainstream movies. Early in the movie S*W*A*T, an already-down-on-his-luck Colin Farrell gets dumped by Ashley Scott. The scene exists only to further kick Farrell's character down a few notches; Scott is not in any other parts of the movie. What if instead of Ashley Scott, it was Channing Tatum doing the dumping? Same exact story otherwise. Do you think that would ever happen?
This has kinda been on my mind for a couple days.