Coming to theatres from directors David Andalman, Mariko Munro and Phase 4 Films comes an interesting look at school from a young man’s point of view as an AMERICAN MILKSHAKE.
This film tells the story of Jolie (Tyler Ross), a young man in the 1990’s going to West Branch Magnet School and trying to be somebody. By the term ‘somebody’ Jolie means he wants to be on the basketball team the Blazers, wants to be loved and – wants to be black but he’s white.
Once on the team Jolie makes some changes including breaking up with his African-American pregnant girlfriend Henrietta (Shareeka Epps). He doesn’t really want to but feels being on the Blazers means his chance at finding stardom in high school and their relationship could hinder that.
Then Christine (Georgia Ford) comes into the picture. His friend Haroon (Eshan Bay) is getting some flack for Jolie’s choices. Hanging out with the team including Arias (Nuri Hazzard) there is a video roaming around that will change Jolie’s heart.
Playing at basketball and at love while being a teenager surrounded by a culture that isn’t his own has Jolie falling down until he can rise up!
FINAL WORD: Ross as Jolie is doing everything parents are hoping their kid isn’t. He has such an innocent face and most of what he does is all in the name of acceptance. The strains of it all come full circle but I have to wonder if this character really learned anything.
Epps as Henrietta is a girl who knows more about the world than she should at her age. Being adopted by a white family she feels the strains of who she is on her own terms. This girl has more forgiveness in her than I do and that’s saying something! Her relationship with Jolie is twisted but in what way is open for debate.
Bay as Haroon goes from being the straightforward son who doesn’t do anything to upset his parents to a kid breaking any chains that have been placed on him. He is endearing and funny as well.
Hazzard as Arias is another character that doesn’t exactly end up where the viewer might think. He is definitely the coolest cat that Jolie knows but never in a million years would Arias be the guy to shake things up.
Other cast include: Leo Fitzpatrick as Mr. McCarty and Danny Burstein as Coach.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give AMERICAN MILKSHAKE three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Keeping true to the time period with Mario Brothers, the OJ Simpson trial, cars, clothing, racial tensions and haircuts just add so much realism to the film. The lingo and attitudes are captured brilliantly, which had me laughing and jaw dropping at the same time.
The cast is amazing here that allow this story to be told flawlessly. This is a exactly what it was like in the 1990’s with parents raising children with the beliefs they fought for from their parents. Neither parent nor child was ready for the cycle to change so dramatically.
Anyone who was a parent at this time knows exactly what I speak of. We wanted more for our kids so we relaxed the reigns a bit and now we question whether it was too much. The film offers a final look at the end of an era we understood so well and beckoned us into an era we’ve taken far to long to grasp and embrace.
Technology was just beginning to enter into the picture and video games were seen as harmless entertainment. White kids discovering the hood along with the clothing and speak was depicted seamlessly in the film. Anyone, and I mean anyone watching this film is going to have to do some soul searching and at the same time laugh – and perhaps even forgive ourselves a little.
This is a film that is an experience and a look back in time that no one should miss.
In the end – he is smack dab in the middle of change!
For more information on films and television visit Movie Maven.