‘Sprinter’ was released in 2019 onto Netflix. It is a sports drama about a Jamaican teen with prospects in the 200-meter dash. His mother’s absence causes problematic family dynamics for him, his father, and, his brother. Akeem, upset about his mother not returning but constantly promising to do so cause a lot of tension between him and his father. Which eventually leads to him moving out and living with his brother. Akeem becomes a superstar when he breaks a highschool sprinting record and is happy with his newfound popularity. Although it all comes crashing down when the pressure causes him to make a few bad choices.
The movie is set in Jamaica, which causes some beautiful scenery as well as cultural change for American viewers. The Jamaican style of English is interesting to analyze. The execution if Jamaican words and phrases were excellent. The context in which they are used makes each one easy to understand. The movie also depicts Akeem’s highschool. This clarifies to the viewer why Akeem feels pressured. It also shows the dynamic between Akeem and his coach as well as his teammates.
Akkems family is him, his brother Germaine, his dad Garfield, and his mother Donna. The problems that arise for Akeem mostly sprout from his mother’s absence. She is working in America to help provide for him and his family. She intended to return to Jamaica after two years. However, she overstayed her visa and has been gone for 10 years. This leads to complications between Akkem and his father. Akeem’s brother, Germaine runs a lottery scamming business in association with a Jamaican gang. Therefore Akeem also struggles because he has a strong moral sense and does not want to scam people like his brother. Additionally, Germaine used to be an award-winning 400-meter sprinter until he injured himself. Therefore Akim does not want to follow that path.
Akeem’s mother and father decide to get a divorce after 10 years of separation. It was extremely upsetting to Akeem who believes his mother may not love him anymore. Additionally, he found his father drunk laying on the floor next to his own vomit and blamed his mother for it. Although it is clear Akeem’s mother does a lot to support her family, her presence is still the most important thing she can give. Akeem’s mother lives in LA and asks Akeem to run in a race in LA so she can see him. Although at this point, Akeem was not sure whether he wanted to race or see his mother.
Akeem’s character arc is both emotional and physical. He goes through many things that change him emotionally between his friends and family. He also breaks his ankle and has to recover to race in LA. The movie starts with Akeem trying to be a 400-meter sprinter like his brother. Unfortunately, he starts fast but has to slow down due to his stamina. His coach tells him he should run the 200 meters instead, but Akeem is not as sure. When he is forced to run the 200-meter dash he wins and becomes a 200-meter runner.
Sports dramas are not my favorite type of movies. I prefer science fiction or fantasy. Though this movie told a good story. Akeem’s life is relatable to people who aren’t sprinters. His story applies to many different situations and therefore engaging to all. This movie is definitely worth watching. Whether that be because of the relatability to the characters, or the heartwarming story or even just the great visuals. ‘Sprinter’ is a heartwarming athlete’s tale revolving a teenager who learns that staying true to yourself is the greatest motivation.
Written by Joseph Nelson
LA Times: Review: ‘Sprinter’ puts Jamaican spin on inspiring sports genre
Flickering Myth: Movie Review – Sprinter(2019)
The Knockturnal: Film Review: ‘Sprinter’
Image Courtesy of William Warby’s Flickr Page