Barack Obama, future leader of the free world, comes of age. Barry tackles Obama’s experience in New York City in the early 80’s while enrolled at Columbia University. It’s strange catching glimpses of what a president’s life was like as a young adult, making questionable decisions as young adults are wont to do, before they ever even considered entering politics. It’s kind of like when we found out our 10th grade History teacher played bass in a bar cover band on the weekends (shout out to Mr. Bradbury). You realize these inspiring authority figures have had completely separate, yet relatable lives.
It’s hard to tell how much of this film is fact based, and how much is just what the creators thought life would have been like for Obama as an idealistic, mixed race 21 year old from Hawaii living in a black neighborhood and enrolled in seemingly all white classes. Taking on this role is a tall order and first time actor Devon Terrell stumbles a bit out of the gate, but now that I think about it that may have been the point. After all, one of the driving plot points throughout Barry is Obama learning how to be comfortable in his own skin. Streaming on Netflix. Grade: B-