Like Midnight horrors and road trip dramedies, the coming-of-age movie is such a staple of the Sundance Film Festival that it's easy to overlook. But there was one that stood out this year for switching up the formula a little bit. That would be Chad Hartigan's Morris from America, which stars Craig Robinson, Carla Juri, and newcomer Markees Christmas.
The film centers on Morris, an African-American teen who faces culture clash, prejudice, and more when his single Dad moves them to Germany. Morris has dreams of being a big hip-hop star one day, a goal he shares with the cool 15-year-old (Lina Keller) he's fallen hard for. Here's the film's official synopsis:
A heartwarming and crowd-pleasing coming-of-age comedy with a unique spin, Morris from America centers on Morris Gentry (Markees Christmas, in an incredible breakout performance) a 13-year-old who has just relocated with his single father, Curtis (Craig Robinson) to Heidelberg, Germany. Morris, who fancies himself the next Notorious B.I.G., is a complete fish-out-of-water—a budding hip-hop star in an EDM world. To complicate matters further, Morris quickly falls hard for his cool, rebellious, 15-year-old classmate Katrin. Morris sets out against all odds to take the hip-hop world by storm and win the girl of his dreams.
The film earned two awards at Sundance, including a special Jury prize for Robinson's performance. It was also one of my favorites from the festival, and the rare feel-good movie centered on the bond between an African-American father and son. Those don't come around often enough, but maybe that can change. Morris from America opens August 19th, but hits DirecTV Cinema early on July 7th.