5.6/10
2,592
192 user 15 critic

American Son (2019)

TV-MA | | Drama | 1 November 2019 (USA)
Trailer
1:49 | Trailer
An estranged couple reunite in a Florida police station to help find their missing teenage son.

Director:

Kenny Leon
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36 ( 164)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Kerry Washington ... Kendra
Steven Pasquale ... Scott Connor
Jeremy Jordan ... Paul Larkin
Eugene Lee ... Lt. John Stokes
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Storyline

Frantic with worry, Kendra Ellis-Connor (Kerry Washington) paces the waiting area of a Miami police station. Her 18-year-old son Jamal, a top student about to enter West Point, went out with friends early in the evening and, uncharacteristically, has neither returned nor contacted her. As she waits for her estranged husband Scott (Steven Pasquale), Kendra is interviewed by Officer Paul Larkin (Jeremy Jordan), who assures her that his questions about whether Jamal has priors, a street name, or gold teeth are strictly protocol and not racist. Larkin suddenly discloses new details regarding Jamal's whereabouts when Scott arrives, not initially realizing that this white FBI agent is Jamal's father. As the three hash it out in the otherwise deserted waiting area, urgent questions arise concerning the degree to which race, gender, and class play into police procedure. Written by Toronto International Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

There's Been an Incident

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 November 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American Son See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Netflix, Simpson Street See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is an adaptation of a Broadway play, of the same name, with the same cast (so keep that in mind while watching). See more »

Quotes

Paul Larkin: Ma'am, I have kids too.
Kendra: Any of them black?
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Soundtracks

Idea
Written by Maceo Vidal-Haymes, Nicholas Hennessey, Chance the Rapper (as Chancelor Bennett), Boyang Matsapola and Noam Wallenberg
Performed by The O'My's feat. Chance the Rapper
Courtesy of Bleed101 and Chance the Rapper LLC
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Important ideas, disappointing writing
3 November 2019 | by MyContributionSee all my reviews

What do we make of a movie that has love it or hate it reviews? Possibly reviewers are judging two different aspects: content and portrayal. American Son raises many important issues that society is struggling with. And the film does show that these issues are not as clear-cut as we might think. It encourages the viewer to see the other person's perspective. If these elements of the film were instead those of an article or a non-fiction book, they would be top-notch.

But this is a film, one adapted from a play. And as a film, it languishes beneath its interesting premise. The most glaring fault lies in the conversation between the parents. Although they were married for many years, they now speak about race issues as if the topic was something new. Is the viewer meant to believe that a biracial couple never explored their views of racial relations? They do not have a credible conversation, but instead make statements for the benefit of the viewer. Rather than believable character dialogue, we get parallel monologues. It is of no surprise, then, that the writer uses amateur contrivances such as that used to bring up the shameful history of segregated water fountains. 'Can I get you anything?' 'Water' 'There's a water fountain down the hall, well actually there are two...' And so on. Such clumsy attempts to invite a soapbox moment is just bad film. Indeed the bulk of the screenplay is replete with such contrived moments. It is the type of faux pas made by Creative Writing students. If it were a fluffy action movie, it could get by with inconsistent, superficial stock characters--the viewer would still enjoy the exciting car chases. But this is meant to be serious drama. It is not the acting that is the problem, but the writing. Sadly, a missed opportunity to prompt a meaningful discussion on the issues it reduces to cliché.


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