Film Review: Netflix`s “Barry” (2016) ★★★


I was fascinated hearing that there is a movie which focuses on the young President Barack Obama. I was expecting, I guess, to see his ambitious plan to make the world a better place to live while he was younger. But instead, I had to witness an unexpected, a focus on his own life first where he had to struggle, mainly, because of the color of his skin and a crying past that left a noticeable mark in his life.

Barry follows the title character, a twenty-year-old Barack “Barry” Obama who was stopped by a racist police officer before entering the Columbia University where he was transferred. Also, having a white mother played by Ashley Judd and a politician father in Kenya who he never met, Barry seems to be in search of his own identity as he greatly struggles to put together his intelligent thoughts not many could understand.

As you watch Barry who meets a white-skin girlfriend, named Charlotte (Anya Taylor-Joy), Barry still concentrated on the color of his skin as he finds people around him judging him for who he is. However, shortly after, Barry who reads Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” soon becomes visible, when at dinner with Charlotte’s parents you could easily tell it was expected that a well-mannered man you see there sitting and chatting about politics was destined to become someone important in the future. But he did not know then that ‘important’ had the most powerful title: the President of the United States of America.

What was most unusual about Vikram Gandhi’s Barry is its simplicity, like the film was shot about the guy from next door, not the future president of the United States. And that is what was pretty incredible about Barry. Devon Terrell’s portrayal of Barry brings a specific, unique and gentleness to Barry’s personality as you see him as an ordinary man with big ambitions, who happens to fulfil his dream.

Yes, Barry makes us to take the trip to 1981, to hear the conversation about slavery and how Barry still had that in his mind. It is a quite slow-paced movie using only one type of cinematic language, where it could not go wrong. But the movie itself wins when it does not become a cliché where the movie could have turned into politics, but rather stays true to its true core and continues throughout the film where you see more what it means to be a young and intelligent man in 1981, who happens to be black when racism in the United States was reaching a dangerous level. But luckily, Barry was able to survive the wave of unpredictableness, which eventually lead him to become the Barack Obama we all know so well.

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