Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Netflix’s American Son Review: Issues faced by African Americans in society

The movie would have reached better if it had been more interesting.

American Son is about an estranged interracial couple awaiting news about their missing son. The story continues while they talk about their split and what their son might be going through.


Kendra Ellis-Connor, who is an African American psychology professor, is the mother of Jamal Connor. Her ex-husband, Scott Connor is a white man and an FBI agent. The used-to-be couple comes together to look for their son as they talk about Jamal’s identity and his wellness. At the same time, they talk about the cause of the rupture in their marriage after being married for over fifteen years.

American Son starts with Kendra frantically calling Jamal’s phone as flashbacks of the fight the mother and son had before Jamal left home starts appearing on the screen. She tries to remain calm and goes to a police station nearby. After a long time spent at the reception, she got to meet a newbie, Officer Paul Larkin, who is white. Officer Paul does not do anything to hide his racist mentality and says some racist remarks.

Does Jamal have a street name?

Officer Paul when he was enquiring about Jamal

There are two water fountains…You know, above the water fountains, there’s, like, um…there’s like a commemorative plaque dedicated to like The Big Five, or something (referring to The Big Six). Yeah, yeah, Abernathy and, uh…I can’t remember all of them. It’s just–ah, it’s…fascinating, you know, just the history. Well, you know, I mean…all they did for…people (referring to African Americans)

The remark that Officer Paul gave when Kendra asked where the water fountain was.
American Son, Netflix

After some tense arguments with Officer Paul regarding the whereabouts of Jamal, Kendra’s ex-husband, Scott enters the scene. Officer Paul, who did not update Kendra on anything about her son, quickly stated all the facts he knew about Jamal to Scott. When Kendra knew about that, they had a serious conversation on the superiority that white people had over black people.

The movie then continued with Scott and Kendra recalling the first time they met and also talking about what would have possibly happened to Jamal. It was then that Officer Paul entered the room again and informed the couple that the car Jamal was driving was stopped at a traffic stop and that there was a sticker on the bumper of his car.

Shoot all cops with your camera phone whenever they make a bust

The words in the sticker that was on Jamal’s car bumper.
American Son, Netflix

Scott was then alarmed by the fact that Jamal had that sticker because of the fact that he was a cop in a way too. He was furious with the fact that the sticker was directed at him. He blamed Kendra for the wrong judgment when Kendra stood up for herself and said that it was Scott’s fault for leaving the family astray.

He put the bumper sticker on the car to get back at you. He’s furious with you…What do you think, Scott? For leaving him.

Kendra’s reply to Scott saying that her judgment was wrong on the bumper sticker.

At that moment, a text from Scott’s brother, who is a cop, catches the couple’s attention. It is a video where there are some gunshots fired. Scott and Kendra start freaking out about what would have happened to Scott. The disagreements between the couple continue without fail until the AM Liasion Officer, Lieutenant Stokes arrived. He then chided Kendra for not advising Jamal to always listen to what higher officials say. He scolded her for telling him to stand up to what he is feeling, is right, despite the fact that he appears black. After a while, the officer comes back with information that he was shot in the head and was killed.

American Son, Netflix


Although the Broadway play version of American Son was captivating, the 90-minute movie version was definitely way more boring, in one set only and unwanted flashbacks. With 5.3/10 IMBd ratings and 50% Rotten Tomatoes, American Son is meant to state the struggles black people face in society. However, it would reach out to the viewers more if the movie were to be more interesting.

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Image Source: Netflix

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