SXSW Film 2016 Review: A STRAY

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

This timely and poignant film tells the story about a Somali refugee attempting to make a new life for himself in Minneapolis.  Adan (Barkhad Abdiraham), a Muslim immigrant from Somalia, struggles with adjusting to life in America and maintaining his Islamic faith.  After getting kicked out from his home, Adan becomes friends with an adorable stray dog who seems to be his only friend in a somewhat unfriendly city.  America is supposed to be a haven for the “tired and poor”, but Adan feels lost and unwelcome, much like his new-found friend. 

Written and directed by Musa Syeed, A Stray offers a sincere and honest portrait of modern immigrant life in America–particularly in the face of fear and prejudice.  The movie also gives viewers an intimate look at some of the cultures trying to thrive and survive in the U.S., while remaining true to their traditional ways of living.  Though the film feels true-to-life, it does drag in moments and is somewhat lacking in its presentation.  Nevertheless, in the current anti-Islamic climate that has worsened in recent years, this film reminds its audiences that there is good and bad within all cultures, including our own.

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