by Zack Roddy
Mike Holland (Nick Cannon) is a nineteen-year-old Marine who is to be shipped to Iraq in 96 hours time. Getting to spend Thanksgiving at home, perhaps for the last time, Mike meets a beautiful girl named Cristina (Melonie Diaz) on the bus ride home, and they are instantly attracted to one another.
Stuck in the dead end city of Bakersfield, Mike’s home life is less than ordinary. With a distant stepfather, a drug addicted older brother, and an absent father, the only source of comfort in his life is his gentle mother, and his grade school aged little sister, so he has been lacking in role models his entire life. Although Mike appears to have a good head on his shoulders, he is easily influenced, especially by his best friend Jake (Matt O’Leary) who is spiraling down a dangerous path of drug dealing, obsession with guns, and spontaneous violence. Mike also spends his remaining four days with Cristina, and as the days go on, their romance begins to grow deeper and deeper, showing the first traces of love. As his deployment date draws nearer, Mike has to eventually reveal to his friends and family the truth of his situation.
American Son, directed by Neil Abramson and written by Eric Schmid, contains very complex storylines, involving first loves, becoming an adult, and finding your place. Boasting two excellent performances by Nick Cannon, Melonie Diaz, and Matt O’Leary, American Son resonates with the audience long after it is over.