This movie is a wine enthusiast’s dream.
“Uncorked” is a Netflix drama with a subtle hint of comedy thrown in. The film stars Mamoudou Athie (Elijah) as a young man looking to find himself.
His father Louis, played by Courtney B. Vance, is sure that his son will take over the family business; that business happens to be a restaurant that surely serves some of the best ribs around.
The film plays with themes of legacy, fatherhood and self-identity. This is one of the bright spots of the film.
The portrayal of the father-son dynamic, specifically from an African-American lens is interesting to see.
Vance’s performance is understated as he portrays a man who is desperate to cultivate a legacy of his own. The restaurant was passed on to his character from his father, and he looks to do the same for his son Elijah.
This dynamic is set off by Athie’s equally understated performance as Elijah, a son who wants to expand from where his family is. Throughout the film, we see him struggle with the idea of being “stuck.”
He even mentions this to his father, who is understandably shaken by the comment.
The comedy that stems from the film is also well done. The comedic timing from Courtney B. Vance is the best part of this movie to me. His character comes off very distant towards his son, but when he’s with his wife, he’s way more loose.
A gripe I have with the film relates to directorial choices; for example, with every scene change there was a music cue that utilized a snippet from various hip-hop songs. For me, this choice was distracting and unnecessary, making the movie feel like a music video at times.
I also felt like the script felt too contrived.
I understand that every work of fiction is technically contrived, but it shouldn’t feel that way. In this film, things seem to happen because Elijah needs an obstacle to overcome.
Also, certain characters seem to disappear throughout the film, mainly in the form of Elijah’s girlfriend, Tanya (Sasha Compere).
Overall: “Uncorked” is a movie full of interesting themes and dynamics, and while contrived at times, it is worth a watch.
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