A young man of mixed race moves to New York in '81 and strives to find his own authentic self while attending Columbia university and starting a relationship with a young white student. This would be an interesting story even if it wasn't about a young Barack Obama. Vikram Gandhi has crafted a surprising film with a wonderful script by Adam Mansbach that stays away from cliché presenting mature reflection.
This has no business being as good as it is. Especially after being primed to roll my eyes from SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU, which was an embarrassingly mediocre hagiography, this screenplay, written by the guy who wrote GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP, is subtle and unafraid to turn Obama into an, at times, unsympathetic, young, confused asshole. Seriously -- the script is REALLY good. I can't wait to see what he writes next.
Pleasantly mellow, elegant little character study on a character well worth studying. Barack Obama is so interesting and accessible of a person because he is fiercely common, and we see a wonderful humanity in a president in his more tumultuous, impulsive years smoke weed, lumber around in his underwear, and even take a sucker-punch in Harlem as he struggles to fit in. It's not much but it's all worthy of a look.