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Micky Hardaway

average rating is 4 out of 5


Amber Jackson


Posted on:

Feb 25, 2023

Film Reviews
Micky Hardaway
Directed by:
Marcellus Cox
Written by:
Marcellus Cox
Stephen Cofield, David Chattam, Kimberly Christian

Content warning: abuse, domestic violence


Mickey Hardaway is a feature film that sees a young sketch artist pay visit to a renowned psychiatrist as he begins to lose control of his life. Throughout the feature, protagonist Mickey wrestles with his inner demons as he fears personal failure. Acting as the feature length film of the earlier short Mickey Hardaway (reviewed by UK Film Review in 2021) and successfully provides an even deeper insight into how abuse has affected Mickey and his ability to recognise his potential. Writer and director Marcellus Cox fully encapsulates one man’s reality crumbling around him in a beautifully conceptualised way and portrays vulnerable masculinity in a way that is seldom seen on screen.


A man allowing himself to feel vulnerable and express his vulnerability in a society that rejects that is a brilliantly inspired commentary on masculinity. The emotive script not only acknowledges trauma, but sees the main character seek to process it and at least attempt to release negative feelings for the first time. It is a cathartic and intelligently made film that jumps straight into the action, as though Mickey is directly reliving life events during a therapy session. Discussions concerning life’s hardships and mental health difficulties contribute towards a journey from hardship towards some type of personal healing. This sees thoughtful and deeply emotive performances from every actor, who all clearly understand the character that they embody.


This feature feels like an ode to a film style that directors like Barry Jenkins use to make the viewer a part of the action, with its realistic dialogue, soundscape and setting to create a real-life location and society. Background noise in each location adds to the atmosphere of the film, giving it a realistic feel and a clear sense of place. Somehow, being mostly in black and white feels more authentic somehow, as though we are witnessing a snapshot in time. The cinematography ultimately acts as a beautiful metaphor for Mickey’s progression, and struggles, as he seeks to process and handle his emotions with grace. Camerawork also acting all-consuming in this way with plenty of close-up shots also shows another side to his vulnerability.


Although there are some issues with the film’s pacing, this in no way detracts from Mickey’s story as he is aided to confront his personal demons. His fight for individual agency despite being knocked back multiple times is admirable and incredibly moving, as he vocalises anxieties over not living to his full potential. Sympathetic characters accompany Mickey on his journey from childhood, yet it feels as though everyone is failing him. This is a feature that captures how insular and alone its protagonist feels in the aftermath of a broken family and broken dreams.


At the end of it all, the viewer finds themselves wishing that there was more to this beautiful story. Mickey’s story is a heartbreaking reminder of human survival and he ends up facing his melancholia head on. Cox’s film interrogates what it means to be a man and to be vulnerable, as well as other vibrantly hard-hitting themes such as breaking the cycle of generational trauma. It is a fantastic feature well worth seeing, as it attests to the absolute skill and dedication of its filmmaker who, despite a small production, has delivered a huge success.

About the Film Critic
Amber Jackson
Amber Jackson
Indie Feature Film
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