Growing up is hard. Growing up as a minority is even harder. I’ve only had a taste of this experience, as the things that set me apart aren’t as obvious as my accent or the color of my skin, but most of us have experienced the feelings of isolation that come from being different than everyone around them, just not to the extent that Morris feels in Morris from America.
Morris’s case is extreme because his father has moved the family from America to Germany, leaving the rap-obsessed 13-year-old surrounded by people who not only look different from him but have entirely different cultural references.
It’s unclear from the trailer if the film will address issues specific to Germany, where a politician recently felt comfortable giving an openly racist speech (read about that here), or if it will settle on a more general sense of otherness.
Either way, the setting provides a twist on the coming-of-age tale that’s been told so many times, and the prominent infusion of music should give the story a lively beat. I’m all for flights of fancy with music at their center, and the head-bopping statues featured in the trailer hint that the songs won’t be there simply to provide a soundtrack.
The film won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival as well as a Jury Prize for Craig Robinson’s dramatic turn as Morris’s father. With such nods of approval, Morris from America looks like a teen film that everyone should check out.
Morris from America is directed by Chad Hartigan and stars Markees Christmas, Craig Robinson, and Carla Juri. It will be released in the U.S. on August 19th, 2016. For international release dates, click here.
Do you think Morris from America will distinguish itself from the coming-of-age crowd? Let us know in the comments!
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