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Mickey Hardaway (2023)

My quick rating - 6.1/10. Writer/director Marcellus Cox brought this film to my attention and asked for my opinion, so I checked it out on TubiTV. The black-and-white cinematography adds a nice dramatic touch to the film. The story follows a young sketch artist who agrees to an in-house therapy session with a renowned psychiatrist as his life spirals out of control due to years of physical and verbal abuse. As the therapy session begins, we are taken through flashbacks of Mickey's family life and his dreams of becoming an animator, which are thwarted by his father. The characters feel very real, particularly the heartfelt dialogue between Dr. Harden (Stephen Cofield Jr.) and Mickey (Rashad Hunter). Hunter really turns out an effective performance from start to finish. However, some of the other conversations are a bit stiff and lack the realism of the main exchanges (that business meeting). The story seems to hit close to home, possibly drawing from Cox's own experiences or those of someone he knows. The gentle shift to color during Mickey's time with his love interest, convincingly played by Ashley Parchment, is a nice touch that highlights a happier period in Mickey's life. However, as life continues to deal Mickey a series of blows, his fragile psyche is pushed to the brink, especially when his therapist fails to make time for him. While the film aims to tell a powerful story, the supporting material leading up to the tragic conclusion wasn't quite enough to justify the ending. Nonetheless, it delivers its message well for an indie flick working with a limited budget (yes, I noticed the same baseball bat used in unrelated scenes). For his first feature-length film, Marcellus Cox makes a statement in capturing the emotion of a youth's life oppressed from the start. Behind the lens, he has a knack for what to show and when. And I don't believe this was part of the message, this once again just shows how bad things happen when everyone can get their hands on a gun.

You can pick this up on Amazon or stream it from these locations.

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