A24 has decided that they want to take risks. That they want to deliver amazing content, or at least weird and unique content. And sometimes both, like when it comes to Swiss Army Man!
That is why I decided to give Morris From America a chance. A movie that might deal with racism but in a very non-American light. A movie that might have strong comedic or dramatic performances. And a movie that could give me a patriotism boner.
Eating ice cream and owning the sidewalk? Yeah, those are Americans.
Morris Gentry (Markees Christmas) is from America, but now he lives in Heidelberg, Germany with his single dad (Craig Robinson). His dad has a job working for a Futbol team, which is why they now live here. He had a mom, but she died.
Needless to say, Morris is having problems fitting in. Right now it is the summer time, he has no friends and only small amounts of German. So he has a tutor (Carla Juri) to help him with the language and just getting him to open up. But she suggests he goes to a local youth center, to meet people his age and make some friends.
Well, of course, everyone there is super white and super German. And most of them are a bit racist. Some of it comes from just not seeing black people before. Some of it is curiosity. Morris sees a girl, Katrin (Lina Keller) and actually gets a crush on her, so he decides to give this youth center a shot, despite the overwhelming weird feelings.
And well, those weird feelings are real. He gets blamed for things he didn’t do, pressured and bullied and more. But hey, he just wants to be able to free style and express himself, and they are just giving him more material to work with.
That face is right, Morris. This looks like a trap.
Morris From America is one part coming of age story and one part fish in a foreign pond. I am not sure if that last part is a saying, but right now I am running with it. The idea makes a lot of sense too. There are tons of films about an American going to a new place and learning customs and the language, whether it be a drama or full of laughs. But for whatever reason it is always a white person. Why not have a black guy do the same thing?
This is not a zany movie by any means. All of the spare humor moments just come from normal human interaction, mostly father and son. I tend to feel bad for Morris when he is interacting with the German teenagers, basically 95% of time.
The movie drives home some points, but they aren’t too powerful. Apparently Germany is still super white and not the best towards people who look different. But hey, what society really isn’t like that? It is a hard balance to break.
Some of his situations are uncomfortable, some are slight, but overall, not a lot happens over the journey of the film. This is just a snapshot of his life, a small experience over a small amount of time. And well, it is just okay in that regard.