Morris from America (2016)
Critic Consensus: Morris from America adds some novel narrative twists to its father-son story -- and gains added resonance thanks to a powerful performance from Craig Robinson.
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as Morris Gentry
as Curtis Gentry
as Alex - Soccer Trainer #1
as Jakob - Soccer Trainer #2
as Katrin's Mother
as Chad Valley
as Ballet Dancer
as Ballet Dancer
as Ballet Dancer
as Industrial Party Girl
as Gotta Pee Real Bad Guy
as Youth Center Adult
as Phone Sex Operator
as Phone Sex Woman
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Critic Reviews for Morris from America
While countless coming-of-age indies have followed the standard mold of following a new teen boy's first awkward steps ahead, writer/director Chad Hartigan's compassionate mix of charm, heartache and hip-hop ramps up this version handsomely.
While "Morris From America" trundles along familiar tracks, Hartigan's eye for detail and individuality yields enough dividends to keep the film moving tartly and congenially along.
"Morris from America" feels thin at times. But at its best, its themes of growing up, culture gaps and the power of music take the specific and make them universal.
The truehearted insights in Chad Hartigan's Sundance award-winner - about adolescence, about alienation, about parenting, about race - make it a must-see.
Morris [is] played by marvelous newcomer Markees Christmas in a breakout performance.
Audience Reviews for Morris from America
It's a different sort of coming of age flick particularly for the dynamic father/son relationship and for the perspectives of life in Germany, otherwise it's kinda blah.
Every review and synopsis that you will read about "Morris from America" is that it is a "coming of age", "fish out of water" dramedy. All of that is true, and that pretty much covers it. You probably won't be surprised by anything beyond the down-to-earth dialogue and the fact that Craig Robinson can actually pull off a serious role. It starts off strong establishing that Markees Christmas doesn't fit in in Germany with plenty of humorous sequences demonstrating his attempts to fit in and resignation from said attempts. By the end of the film, it starts to really drag, and there isn't any real emotional impact to make waiting around for the conclusion worth it. In fact, I watched this film months ago and completely forgot to write a review because it just went in one ear and out the other. I'm not saying it is a bad film, but it doesn't seem like anyone accomplished anything with it. "Morris from America" shares many themes with "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" which, most will agree, is a much more resonant and funny film.
Though Morris from America initially feels as if it will hit on something refreshingly cool that hint of uniqueness slowly wears off as it becomes apparent the film is little more than a fish out of water tale that serves only to make the more central coming-of-age story that much more awkward. What allows the film to maintain this somewhat refreshing momentum are the performances and chemistry between star Craig Robinson (The Office) and newcomer Markees Christmas who plays the titular Morris. This father/son dynamic rescues the film from what is otherwise an oddly constructed sequence of events that puts Morris in league with a young German girl named Katrin (Lina Keller) who plays with Morris' feelings at once seeming as if she'll be his gateway and his salvation in this foreign land while at another being largely indifferent and vague about her intentions. While the tertiary relationship that is established when the film begins works effortlessly it is in attempting to construct this central young love fable that isn't meant to be so that Morris learns life's lessons the hard way that never fully clicks. In light of this it is something of a shame the film ends up spending more time on the Morris/Katrin dynamic than it does either that of Morris' relationship with Robinson's Curtis or even his German tutor, Inka (Carla Juri), who Morris develops a trust with that he hasn't been able to find outside of his father. The film also seems to want to upend the conventions of typical coming-of-age tales, but isn't sure how to do so other than by making its protagonist less of an introvert than these characters usually are and combating that character trait by changing the standard high school environment to that of a German youth center that isn't keen on accepting the hip-hop loving Morris. In the end, the film still finds itself in the position of adhering to such genre conventions by having Morris overcome his fears and insecurities in a public display of his true talent that finally gives way to some type of acceptance. Morris from America, much like Morris himself, doesn't seem to really know what it is. It has numerous influences and ideas, but it's not sure how to meld these attributes into its own thing. read the whole review at www.reviewsfromabed.com
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