Return to Barack Obama’s Early Years With the ‘Barry’ Teaser
Wednesday night’s Thunderdome deathmatch disguised as a Presidential debate raised some compelling questions: Who’s the puppet, really? What makes a woman “nasty” and an hombre “bad”? And more than anything, what in the world are we going to do without Barack Obama in the White House? As the sitting President waits out his last days in office, America has started to slowly realize just how good we’ve had it these past eight years, and filmmaker Vikram Gandhi may have created the best send-off gift imaginable in his young-Obama biopic Barry.
The first teaser surfaced online this morning, giving viewers who couldn’t catch the film’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival back in September an idea of what to expect when it comes to Netflix on December 16. Though the new trailer eschews dialogue entirely and only shows Devon Terrell’s face as the President-to-be once, near the end, it captures the optimistic spirit and easy retro vibe of the film through its title cards touting the HOPE and CHANGE that got Obama elected in the first place. On the soundtrack, a funked-up cover of “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” hints at the world-weariness, the struggles, and the key theme of the tribulation inherent to the black experience. Netflix also provides an official synopsis to go along with this teaser:
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.
Like this year’s other Barack Obama biopic, the easy-breezy restaging of his first date with Michelle titled Southside With You, this one will attempt to meld the personal and the national to show how Obama’s origins would come to shape America’s identity decades down the line. America could use some comfort-food self-mythologizing right now; this humane take on the most famous guy on Earth could be just what the national character needs.