We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Matty Rich's "The Inkwell" tells the story of a 16-year-old kid whose family spends a couple of weeks on Martha's Vineyard in the summer of 1976. His uncle and aunt, who have a house there, are wealthy Republicans, with a portrait of Richard M. Nixon on the living room wall. But they like to party, and soon the hero, named Drew, meets the other young people in the area and finds himself falling in love for the first time.
The movie is a coming-of-age comedy with a "Summer of '42" twist at the end, and all of the obligatory stops in between: The bonfire on the beach, the Fourth of July parade, the first kiss with fireworks exploding in the air, the parents fighting and the kids exchanging great and solemn truths beneath the moon.
There is a difference, though. All of the characters in the movie are African-Americans. And the "Inkwell" is the name of a beach on Martha's Vineyard where the black bourgeoisie have owned summer homes for decades. For most American moviegoers, the world of this movie will be as unfamiliar as the other side of the moon. Although TV has shown many middle-class black families (notably the Huxtables), if you only knew what you learned at the movies you wouldn't suspect that most black Americans are employed, many of them are affluent, and, yes, some of them are Republicans.
The movie establishes its summer beach location and then moves into its story of a boy who becomes a man. In the case of Drew (Larenz Tate), the journey will be longer than most. At 16, he has no close friends and spends most of his time talking to a small wooden sculpture. His parents, Kenny and Brenda (Joe Morton and Suzzanne Douglas), are concerned, and hope the vacation on the Vineyard with her sister's family will help Drew break out of his rut.