Chasing Your Dream
Strain in a father-son relationship serves as most of the drama in Uncorked, filmmaker Prentice Penny’s first feature movie. Although a familiar theme, this Netflix offering focuses on the unique struggle of Elijah, a young middle-class black man with plans to be a sommelier. Standing in his way are his father, who has always planned on his son taking over their family’s successful BBQ business, and the lack of money to finance his studies.
Penny’s choices of Mamoudou Athie (The Front Runner) as the son and Courtney B. Vance (The Photograph) as his father were the right ones. These two actors inhabit their roles and make us believe every emotion. In fact, they are so real, we cringe while watching many awkward scenes between them. I even wanted to shout “Look at your son!” to Vance in a couple of sequences. And my heart went out to the son as he tried to earn his father’s support. But I could also feel the suffering of both characters.
Other cast members also deliver the goods. Niecy Nash (Reno 911!) almost steals the movie as a proud mother who just wants her son to be happy. She has gone into cancer remission, and her scenes with Athie are pure joy. Plus, the amusing banter between Nash and Vance adds welcome humor to the film. Sasha Compere (Ad Astra), playing the son’s candid girlfriend, doesn’t get enough camera time, but we want to know more about her.
Uncorked spends a great deal of time showing how much is involved in becoming a sommelier. Scenes of wine tasting, wine history, serving techniques and so forth fascinated me. But I think the hard work this movie highlights might discourage viewers who are thinking about sommelier for an occupation. It looks like one job a person would have to be as passionate about as Elijah is in Uncorked.
What made Elijah so interested in wine? While working two jobs, one at his father’s popular restaurant and the other as a stocker of wine bottles at another store, he started reading the labels and learning about the history of each wine. This piqued his curiosity, and soon his goal was sealed.
Elijah tries to chase his dream
despite his father’s silent scream.
His mom supports him to the max
with no regrets and never lax.
Elijah wants to study wine
and helping people while they dine.
But his father has different plans.
So wine studies he quickly bans.
“Uncorked” offers this simple plot.
Happily, actors add a lot
to this film drama’s viewing time.
A good place here to end this rhyme.
(Released by Neflix and rated “TV-MA”)