re: "American Son" on Netflix
Last Edit: Delvino 05:12 pm EDT 03/19/20
Posted by: Delvino 05:09 pm EDT 03/19/20
In reply to: "American Son" on Netflix - Ann 01:57 pm EDT 03/19/20

Agree fully on all points.

The play offers a particular kind of cheat: it pretends not to be a predictable take on the cascade of topics, and then resolves with abject predictability, as if it's a twist. Because this is 2020 America, we see it coming. Yet we're given odd timeline red herrings to throw us off, and are left with "Oh. Of course." To me it's the nagging problem, baked in. The emotional suspense is womped up, when the ending is a foregone conclusion.

Washington works tirelessly, but for me the problem with her performance is tied to the same issue I raise about the script. She has to keep us emotionally invested, but except for the late exchange of recriminations about her marriage, which feels expository and shoe-horned into this police station and these dire circumstances (shorthanded, letting us guess would've sufficed), she has one note to play.

Like you, I was still moved. Because the issues in the play are traumatic and immediate, regardless of the play's grinding gears.

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