Barack is riding in an air plane with a cigarette burning in his hand and his father’s letter to him in the other. The lights flicker out, and he takes one more puff before getting ready to land in New York.
Barry is a biographical drama film about a young Barack Obama attending his junior year in the fall of 1981 at Columbia University. Back then, Barack was Barry and he experiences the tug and pull of his diverse ethnic background as he tries to make sense of society and where he fits.
The first night Barry is in New York, he goes on campus to look around and find his roommate. School hasn’t started yet for the transfer student and he’s still new to his surroundings.
Barry sits down on a set of stairs outside of campus, where a night time patrolling police officer interrogates him. Barry is simply smoking a cigarette and reflecting, yet the officer asks for his student ID. Since Barry just got there, he has no ID to show him, and therefore moves along.
Later in the semester Barry goes to a party one night. He comes back to campus, and is once again confronted by a police officer for questioning. Barry knows why he’s stopping him: because of his skin color.
He doesn’t back down this time though. In fact, Barry flips the table and starts questioning the police officer. Barry understands the way the world works and he slowly starts finding himself as the film progresses.
What Barry saw and how he saw it, moved him in ways that often left him spaced out and lost deep within his own thoughts. He cared a lot about the world around him, in fact some might even think too much. But an inner demon is what’s driving him, or drove him to where he is. People surrounding Barack didn’t feel the same passion he did. The fire that was burning in him all the time made him unique, it’s probably what makes him able to perform the job he does.
Barry was able to experience city life hands on, seeing exactly what the government does to house “his people.” A graduate student from Columbia was showing Barry around one night before they went to a party. He brought Barry to the projects and the run down fungus-infected apartment complex, where all sorts of wrongs were being carried out.
He sees the bad in the world, he experiences the anxiety that comes with being different. But he also sees the good in it, and keeps his head about him while doing so.
The film tries a little hard at times to address the feelings Barack feels, or more so, the problems the world has at this time.
These societal issues eat away at Barack, and we see in the film how those issues get in the way of his personal life.
In fact they prevent him from falling in love with Charlotte, a pretty girl from his Philosophy class. She isn’t the problem; she completely loves Barry the way he is, skin color and all. But he can’t get past a wall, or maybe a barrier society has involuntarily placed within his conscious, about being a black man with a white girlfriend.
Barry keeps to himself, and we see the inner turmoil he faces in this coming of age story.
With Barack now having said his farewell to the White House and his presidential duties to this country, this film might give fans a taste of him before he was the president. The film is deep and thought-provoking and it makes the viewer wonder what a man of his stature must have been going through in order to develop into the person he became.