A talented and promising young artist tries to overcome the abuse he faces regularly at home and at school, with the help of a psychiatrist in the short film Mickey Hardaway.
Directed by Marcellus Cox, Mickey Hardaway is a beautiful-looking black-and-white short drama that focuses on character and story and delivers both in a near-perfect manner. There are no bells-and-whistles here, just great storytelling in the same vein as Denzel Washington’s awards laden feature Fences.
Mickey Hardaway, portrayed extremely well by a young Rashad Hunter, is a talented artist who dreams of making a career out of his skills. We first see him sat on a wall engaging in a video call with his tutor, Mr. Pitt (Charlz Williams). His teacher congratulates Mickey for coming first in an arts fair before asking him if he has received a letter from a college fund institute in California. Mickey states that he hasn’t and is worried that his parents have kept it from him.
After finishing the call with Mr. Pitt, Mickey runs into one of the school bullies in the restroom, which results in a severe beating. The bloodied and limping artist then makes his way home for a confrontation with his abusive father who admits to hiding the letter from his son. Mr. Hardaway (played menacingly by David Chattam) wants his son to give up his dreams of being an artist, just like he had to give up his dream of becoming a professional footballer. He wants his son to get a “normal 9-5” job.
Of course, Mickey doesn’t want to be anything other than an artist and the showdown ends in another physical altercation, only this time involving a baseball bat.
Finding life hard, the aspiring artist spends time with Dr. Harden (Stephen Cofield) – a psychiatrist. The shrink is understanding and actually lets the young Mickey know that he went through similar circumstances with his father.
As a short, Mickey Hardaway is a 19-minute work of dramatic art. It looks great, it sounds great, it’s performed great. Most of all, it makes you feel, and it makes you want to see more. Whilst we don’t get to see the end of Mickey’s story, Marcellus Cox makes us fill in the gaps using our own imagination. For one, I believed the titular character went on to be a great success in the art world, and his father lived the remainder of his life lonely and regretting the way he treated his son.
One can only imagine what a feature of Mickey Hardaway would be like. If Marcellus Cox was given a budget to turn this short into a 120-minute drama. I imagine it would be even better than this short, and that would be a thing to behold.