Hope is there for anyone who can see it. Writer/director Marcellus Cox’s short film, Mickey Hardaway, is the story of a Los Angeles inner-city youth, Mickey (Rashad Hunter), struggling to find hope and break the cycle of unfulfilled potential.
The short opens with Mickey and his guidance counselor (Charlz Williams) chatting on a Skype-like app about his future. His counselor tells him that he received a letter from a well-known art college in Santa Monica. Mickey is developing into a great artist, and going to art school after graduation would be just the boost he needs to fulfill his dreams. Soon, his hopeful prospects turn sour as he is bulled in the restroom and then given a harsh dose of reality by his abusive father (David Chattam) at home.
“…he received a letter from a well-known art college…”
Though Mickey Hardaway is a familiar story of growing up in the inner-city, the filmmaker takes the opportunity to authentically explore the emotions of the protagonist. He does this by bringing us into a session with Mickey and his therapist (Stephen Cofield) to explain the cycle of abuse that is carried from one generation to the next. Cycles can be broken, but it is rarely easy. But that underlying sense of hope, the one that buoys Mickey into seeking help, that he will escape to a better life, is felt in every scene.
Cox coaxes out strong performances from the cast, who ably bring the gravitas of the situations and themes to life. Does Mickey Hardaway hold any surprises? No, but due to the raw emotions and talented cast, the story feels realistic and honest, making us hopeful for the future of Mickey and those in real life in similar unfortunate circumstances. And hope is a message we can all use today more than ever.
"…authentically explore[s] the emotions of the protagonist."