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C. Belmont Keeney
A look at the early life of Barack Obama. Before he became President of the United States, he was one of the few black students at Columbia University NY in the early 80's. Faced with judgmental and racist opinions all around him, he tries to find his place in the world.
Good story about biracial Americans that has almost nothing to do with Barack Obama
This film had important themes about being biracial in America, now or in the 1980's, but having Barack "Barry" Obama was detrimental (for me, at least).
The director said in an interview that the idea was to "accurately tell the story of a mixed-race kid in New York in 1981 that would one day become the 44th President of the United States," yet the latter part of that idea is non-existent in the film. It's just an accurate story about a mixed-race kid in New York in 1981 and that's it. I have no idea why Barack Obama is the main character of this film other than that he happens to be biracial. Any other detail specific to Barry is irrelevant to the story. You could have made this about a fictional biracial person named Darryl and it would have been exactly the same movie.
I found this confounding, because "Barry" IS the main character. And it was marketed as being about a young Barack Obama, which comes with certain expectations of seeing something that relates to the Obama we know - elements you would find in any other biopic - that are nowhere to be found. At best, you could make the argument that these experiences shaped the way he sees race in America, but there's nothing in the film to suggest that it did, which is even more confounding.
Had the main character been someone else, the theme of finding out where you belong would have made this a good film - competent acting, good dialogue and secondary characters. Everything was there, but setting the expectation of an Obama biopic and not delivering on that promise just left me disappointed.
If you're interested in seeing the film purely for that theme, you'll probably enjoy it.
If you're looking to learn about Barack Obama's college years, you'll be disappointed.
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