Review: In New Biopic ‘Barry,’ The Real Obama Remains Hidden

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-22 02:24Z by Steven

Review: In New Biopic ‘Barry,’ The Real Obama Remains Hidden


Tom Shone

While President Barack Obama decides on his future—a return to his roots as a community organizer? A de facto leader for the Trump resistance? More writing?—pop culture has stepped in to give him the Mount Rushmore treatment. First we had Southside With You, a sweet, inoffensive Sundance hit about his and Michelle Obama’s first date. Now we have Barry, Vikram Gandhi’s film for Netflix about Obama’s year as a transfer student at Columbia University, a period in which the future president read a lot of books, smoked a ton of cigarettes and eventually decided to become a community organizer. This is Obama: The Awakening.

Taking the lead is Australian actor Devon Terrell, who is more strapping than his subject but gets just the right mixture of Vulcan self-possession and self-doubt, giving him a slight stammer as ideas struggle for expression through multiple thought-menus. Casting a non-American actor was a smart move. The film records not just Obama’s first encounter with New York—the Big Apple of Ronald Reagan’s first term, with its beatboxes, graffiti and break-dancers—but with a kind of urban black experience he hadn’t experienced in Hawaii. Passing between worlds, he belongs wholly to neither…

Read the entire review here.

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