Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Barry: And The Wonder Years of Barack Obama

By José Alberto Hermosillo,
Copyrights Netflix

Eclectic and fun to watch, “Barry” vividly shows the early days of former US President Obama's life, his struggle, and his identity conflict. 

Set during the 1980s, Barack, or 
Barry, as his friends called him, arrives at the Big Apple to attend college.

Feeling uneasy, the first images that Barry captures in the streets are the profound differences in American society. His views over Whites and Blacks, in politics and religion, radicalized.

Copyrights Netflix

Barry argues with a white classmate over why Afro-Americans relate everything to slavery in his first class. Both young men take it personally.

Copyrights Netflix

Trying to blend in, Barry plays hoops with the “boys from the hood,” who called him Invisible and Zero.” 

At this point, he starts learning the needs of young Americans for a better life. He likes to go to parties to meet girls, smokes marijuana, and has fun like any regular guy his age. He goes to the school's rooftop to enjoy the view, relax, and think about his future while he smokes some more and hears his favorite music.

At that time, he starts dating a wealthy white girl who shows him the side of people with power.

"Barry" is a well-documented work of fiction written by Adam Mansbach.
 However, this is not a faithful biopic because of its literary liberties.

The writer went to the streets to interview Obama's roommates, former girlfriends, and other people who knew him.

“Barry” has some technical issues, but it is worth viewing.

The editing could be more balanced, and the transitions could be smoother and more artistic. A film based on the life of a US President deserves a more formal and symbolic film.

The story focuses on the fun times rather than the ideological influences shaping the leader's personality. 

The lack of meaning in this independent feature makes us think “The Lion King” is more politically correct than this Obama biopic.

Copyrights Netflix

Australian actor Devon Terrell plays exceptionally well young Barack Obama. Terrell is charismatic and charming. Yet, his character of a confused teenager trying to find himself and a congruent ideology is soft on the page.

Barry's mother (Ashley Judd) places the sentimental note by saying, "The world is a prominent place; you will find your way. 

The film has essential and stimulating cultural references, such as “Black Orpheus," an Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film. Also, there is an allusion to several other books, such as “The Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison and “Dreams from my Father,” by Barak Obama himself.

Other great movies showing the richness of the Afro-American experience this year are “Hidden Figures,” “Loving,” “Fences,” “Moonlight,” and “Kicks.”

In “Barry,” we meet a young man needing to find himself to fulfill his destiny. It doesn't have any sentimentalism or nostalgia; it is more about those fun moments that make life go by smoothly. 

After all, life is a beautiful struggle. 

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