Morris from America

LetterboxD review link

American emigrant or ex-patriate stories are not all too common. Black Americans as emigrants are even less common on screen. Black families without a matriarch and a father-son relationship not characterized by absence or violence are also not often portrayed in film. All of these elements made this an unfamiliar starting point for a story. And yet, I related to Morris so much. He was about the same age as I was when I immigrated to the United States from India. But unlike Morris, I didn’t have the baggage of an identity as a young black boy exported around the world through films, music, sports and other easily accessible American culture and media. It was enough to deal with the complexities of immigration as a pre-teen, dealing with an added layer of race and American cultural hegemony would’ve been a lot.

Both protagonists, Craig Robinson and Markees Christmas, put in solid acting performances. Craig Robinson, though, almost stole the movie in one prolonged scene in the end that shows him being the kind of father I can only hope to be someday.

The movie isn’t perfect, it doesn’t address every issue the story could’ve addressed, but I connected to it because of my own background. I liked seeing this slice of life dramatized, brought to screen for an American audience. And I hope it comes across more people’s radars, so they too can get an idea about the life of a pre-teen emigrant boy trying to find his way in the world.