For some, Netflix’s ‘American Son’, with its raw portrayal of the internal and external struggles of a black mother who loses her son, might come off as a very powerful and moving film. But with other high-profile Netflix films like ‘The King’ overshadowing it, it seems very less likely that this Broadway play adaptation will receive the response that is expected from it.
It presents the story of a troubled mother who begins to overly scrutinize the disappearance of her son while she waits for a police officer to address her concern. Soon she meets a white cop who not only dismisses her claims by saying that her son is probably out with his friends but also racially stereotypes and ridicules him.
Later, when her white ex-husband, who is also an FBI agent, arrives at the scene, the white cop suddenly starts taking things more seriously which clearly reflects on his sense of discrimination. What follows is the story of a lamenting family where the parents of the missing boy face the demons of their failed marriage and along with that, they also realize how their own insecurities have played a major role in affecting their son’s mental health. With a despairing ending, the film makes an attempt to mirror the current state of racial segregation and sexism in our society.
Now regardless of whether the poignant themes of the film moved you or not, one can easily tell that it is not the kind of movie that would usually be considered for a sequel. In fact, looking at its present stance in context with other remarkable films that work on similar grounds, it will probably be forgotten a bit too soon. However, as narrow as the possibility of its sequel may seem, let’s explore what it could possibly showcase and on what grounds would the creators of the film consider making one.
One major aspect that determines whether or not a film will receive a sequel is how well it manages to perform commercially and how big of an audience is demanding for one. But all too often, Netflix originals like ‘American Son’ often come and go with little to no audience. Most Studios and producers often foresee any possible prospects for creating sequels much before they come out with the originals. So for obvious reasons, if the original itself warrants for its renewal by dropping cues in its overarching plot, it will, at some point of time, be considered for one.
If we take a look at the ending of the film, though it does leave some room for the backstories of its characters, the chances of a sequel still seem feeble as, from the looks of it, the creators of the film expect you to form a personal opinion on their contrasting notions. As for the story, it very well comes in full circle with respect to all the moralistic themes that it aspires to present.
Contrary to this, on the surface, the film revolves around racism, sexism and the treatment of marginalized communities in the modern world, but at the end of the day, it is indeed grounded to the elements of something that is universally relatable. It presents several ideas that could connate with a single parent or with a grieving family or even with someone who has experienced some form of a conflict with the discrepancies in present-day law enforcement. A sequel could very well work on the same grounds and could portray how certain minorities are often victimized by our system.
Sequels are usually made when the targeted audience of a given film is looking for something new that somehow also manages to retain the core concepts of the original. With this, if we take a look at other stage plays created by Christopher Demos-Brown, especially ‘American Hero’, it has a lot to say about the present socio-economic conditions and also about race. So many of Demos-Brown’s other works could serve as sequels of some sort as they retain the fundamental notions of ‘American Son’.
In conclusion, as of now, even the critical response to the film seems unfavorable for a sequel and considering that it has been produced by Netflix, a streaming giant that has been aiming for the Oscars lately, a sequel of a film like ‘American Son’ does seem like the path it would tread. But even then, if by any chance, we get any confirmed news regarding its potential sequels in the future, we will certainly update it here on our website.
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