As we count down the final days of President Barack Obama leading our nation I am excited to see the critically acclaimed film Barry premiering on Netflix. I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the film but this preview has me excited to see a dramatization of the man who grew up to be president.
The film is before Michelle Obama instead it’s a ‘slice of life’ as he learns to negotiate his life as a black man of mixed heritage who LOOKS black. President Obama never had the choice to live as a white man or even one that is ‘racially ambiguous’ but instead with his chocolate complexion, kinky hair, full lips and nose he was (likely) always treated, as he was perceived a black man. No sheltering by a beloved mother or grandparents can shield you from the little indignities of being black in America. Especially when you aren’t in the ‘lane’ some expect you to stay in where you are not expected to go to state college let alone a prestigious Ivy League.
One of the things that always made me understand our President is what it’s like forging a path when you are a person of color who grew up in a predominately white area. I remember when I went to college deciding to explore my ‘black’ side and hanging with other African American students. Quite a few made me feel unwelcome that I wasn’t black enough because I spoke without a dialect. Didn’t grow up listening to the same music and found the food they ate to be unfamiliar or not to my liking. They even mocked the way I danced so much that I stopped dancing around them after the white girl who was ‘down’ said ‘I’m blacker than you’. I remember everyone laughed at me and I thought what the heck.
I can only sympathize with Barack having to navigate that path without the foundation of a close knit family who always felt I was ‘OK’ (if not a bit odd) a great representation of black brains and beauty destined for great things. I of course never set my sights so high as the Presidency!
I look forward to watching this film on Netflix premiering December 16th just in time to enjoy the last Obama White House Christmas.
A NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM AND ONE OF THE MOST TALKED ABOUT CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED FILMS AT THIS YEAR’S TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
A young Barack Obama, known to his friends as “Barry,” arrives in New York City in the fall of 1981 to begin his junior year at Columbia University. In a crime-ridden and racially charged environment, Barry finds himself pulled between various social spheres and struggles to maintain a series of increasingly strained relationships with his Kansas-born mother, his estranged Kenyan father, and his classmates. BARRY is the story of a young man grappling with those same issues that his country, and arguably the world, are still coming to terms with 35 years later.
BARRY stars newcomer Devon Terrell in a deeply felt breakout performance as the young student, and features a strong supporting cast including Ashley Judd (DIVERGENT, DOUBLE JEOPARDY), Jenna Elfman (FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS, BIG STONE GAP), and up-and-comers Anya Taylor-Joy (THE WITCH), Jason Mitchell (STRAIGHT OUT OF COMPTON), Ellar Coltraine (BOYHOOD) and Avi Nash (LEARNING TO DRIVE, “Silicon Valley”) directed/produced by Vikram Gandhi.
BARRY was produced by Black Bear Pictures and Cinetic Media. Dana O’Keefe, Teddy Schwarzman, Ben Stillman, and Vikram Gandhi produced the film. Daniel Steinman executive produced.
A NETFLIX ORIGINAL AVAILABLE ON DECEMBER 16TH