Netflix aired the first spot for “American Son” during the 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards telecast and, boy, does Kerry Washington look fierce as a woman whose teenage son might have died at the hands of police.
For the Netflix television event, Washington reprises the role she originated on Broadway as Kendra Ellis-Connor, one half of an interracial couple looking for answers in this urgently timely tale. Kenny Leon adapts Miami trial lawyer turned stage scribe Christopher Demos-Brown’s acclaimed play. The original Broadway cast members — which include Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan, Steven Pasquale, and Eugene Lee — all return to star in the TV movie.
The play was curiously shut out of the 2019 Tony Awards. Reviews for the film version were mixed out of the Toronto International Film Festival, where “American Son” had its world premiere. Variety wrote: “As drama, however, it feels very much like an overly schematic recitation of talking points whose acting histrionics still seem scaled for the boards—a little too big and loud in their 90-minute close-up. The result is worthy yet heavy-handed, too often coming off as an editorializing lecture or essay in thinly fictionalized form… ‘American Son’ will be better suited to home viewing than its big-screen premiere venues at the Toronto Film Festival.”
The Guardian slammed the film out of TIFF. “There are good professional actors here doing their well-intentioned best. The dialogue might well have worked well enough in the theatre – well enough to make it a hit, clearly. But on the screen, it’s a deafening misfire, like the most unbearable, unwatchable daytime TV soap filled with the most awful self-conscious hamminess, parodic emoting and pointless shouting-at-each-other acting,” wrote Peter Bradshaw.
“American Son” isn’t the only new made-for-Netflix movie that’s going to have viewers buzzing around the water color. The streamer also drops the “Breaking Bad” movie “El Camino” on October 11. During the Emmys telecast, Netflix also unveiled new spots for Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician,” starring Gwyneth Paltrow and dropping September 27, and for “The Crown” season three, which arrives November 17 with 2019 Primetime Emmy nominee Olivia Colman in the throne.
Check out the first teaser for “American Son” below.