Mickey Hardaway

Mickey Hardaway
Mickey Hardaway
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In our era, there is an increasing push to encourage people to be more self-aware and recognize their inner selves. Or maybe that is what many had expected or a form of paradox birthed by COVID-19 pandemic. The question whether or not the majority of individuals responded to this call for introspection by moving towards personal growth or transformation remains open for argument.

However, looking at some recent works of cinema makers from across the globe, one can’t wonder if something was lingering in the air all these years (see also The Passenger). Many films and TV shows have taken on subjects like trauma, death and abuse as their central theme. One thing is clear: We are all going through something. Or have. That’s why Mickey Hardaway, a new indie film comes out just in time.

This movie represents one of the most powerful yet touchy debuts from little-known independent filmmaker(s) in quite a while now. Marcellus Cox, an L.A.-based writer-director filmed his thought-provoking drama using black-and-white photography and filled it with outstanding performances and a story that is sure to shake your soul.

The movie uses Cox’s short film as its foundation to talk about the far-reaching impact of domestic violence while also bringing up some amazing ideas about Black masculinity. The main plot follows Mickey Hardaway’s story, who after undergoing therapy begins seeing into his abusive past under his father’s reign of terror. But ripple effects stretch far and wide, and this story captures just how unrelenting trauma can be.

The titular character here played by Rashad Hunter is someone who wants to get away from their situation but has been stuck in it for too long. Even though there are obstacles set against him doing so. Mickey is an artist but he hasn’t really found himself economically yet trying to seek success on his performance arts career path. His girlfriend Grace (Ashley Parchment) supports him emotionally, and is always there for him in every way but you can see something burning from within.

Grace suggests he see a therapist; Mickey agrees and soon he’s telling the counselor more about himself than he thought possible. After all, he has been living with his bottled-up emotions for so long now. He was never taught how to respect or even acknowledge his own emotions. Another indie film that deals with trauma, Mother, May I? featuring Kyle Gallner however shows how frequently this theme is used in modern-day movies.

Dr. Cameron (Stephen Cofield Jr.) gives him insight and it must be overwhelming for Mickey. His father was an alpha male who subjected him to physical abuse among other things. Dr. Cameron isn’t one of those “men” whom Mickey knows far too well. But it is here during a session with the new therapist that Mickey starts regaling about his growing years by pinpointing how verbally abusive and physically violent of a person his father (David Chattam) proved to be, an ex-pro baseball player at that. Her mother Gayla Johnson seemed helpless as she could not save her family from the intensity associated with home life thus showing some emotional reprieve through an affectionate art teacher Dennis LA White. Though bringing consequences in turn by making his father go mad about it

The filmmaker reminds us of these times through flashback, of course. The role is played by a young actor named Blake Hezekiah who gives life to Mickey in a delicate way that entails having ideas not expressed explicitly and underlined. The flashbacks in this film are intense, audacious and truthful, but the execution is absolutely courageous and such writing as Marcellus Cox’s words grabbing hold of that psyche-scarred occasion.

The filmmaker does an effective job at balancing what happened back then with what Mickey is confronted with in the present — let’s say he can’t trust people anymore. Also, it tells the truth about being an artist and one’s own will to stand firm on that path despite all odds. A little bit anyway. He has resolve but his resolve sometimes falters, turning to external crutches like alcohol for comfort. All this factors into Mickey’s traumatic past, and the deeper he explores that realm, it seems more angst resurfaces.

Nathan (Samuel Whitehill), an esteemed editor offers a glimmering hope for Mickey. Finally there may be some possibility of earning something from doing what he loves? But then again it isn’t necessarily a happy ending or anything like that. This was where every aspect of Mickey’s world came together including his girlfriend who cares about him so much his therapy issues and we soon find out his prospective business partner has other plans.

In “Mickey Hardaway” each performance stands out. On the other hand, writing tends to rely on exposition more than it should have had to do. However one must admit that occasionally this expository side becomes overwhelming for the film yet it doesn’t move far away from its course either . Considering how well written this script is I’m sure if they had cut off 10 minutes from films length nobody would have noticed any difference.If nothing else though, this story works well for me; it strikes a chord as it unfolds Mickey’s path. As well, the splendid camera-work and editing by Jamil Gooding earn him accolades here. It might be Marcellus Cox’s debut as a director but after the final frame we have seen from this gifted filmmaker you would want to see more.

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