Set in an alternate version of present-day Oakland, Sorry to Bother You sees Cassius “Cash” Green (Lakeith Stanfield), a self-doubting and down-on-his-luck common man, begin a job as a telemarketer. Stuck on the first floor in a windowless office, Cash and the other telemarketers make calls non-stop throughout the shift and are told to stick to the script. The few telemarketers that excel are promoted to “Power Callers.” Power Callers, seen only entering the golden elevator at the beginning of the work day, are mysterious and are seemingly of a higher social caste. On one of his first days, Cash receives sage wisdom from a seasoned telemarketer, Langston (Danny Glover): if he wants to start making sales he needs to use his “white voice.” By using his white voice, Cash quickly becomes one of the best telemarketers in the world — and then faces the personal, moral, and philosophical choices that come with it.
Sorry to Bother You is one of, if not the most, unique films I’ve ever seen, and I absolutely loved it. The production company describes the film as a science fiction comedy, and I guess that’s about the best way to describe it (the film is so hard to explain). I liken the uncanny, dystopian vibe of Sorry to Bother You to a really good Black Mirror episode mixed with a slightly more serious Idiocracy.
Sorry to Bother You marks the feature-length directorial debut of Boots Riley. Riley also wrote the script, and his upbringing must have had a huge influence on the film based on his Wikipedia page (the only research I do). While Hollywood is currently flooded with remakes, reboots, sequels, prequels, and superheroes, it’s nice to see a truly original and creative film. Not only that, but it’s great to see that product come from a new director. I only hope that, like Get Out last year, this film receives the praise it deserves come awards season.
The social commentary in Sorry to Bother You is palpable. In fact, pretty much the whole plot of the film is a compounding of many of the social issues society is currently facing and has been facing for years. The film explores economic principles — namely unionization and accumulation of wealth — and general philosophical dilemmas. For many moviegoers, that’s a turn off. But Sorry to Bother You is so good and its story is so fun and weird that it doesn’t matter.
Sorry to Bother You will be remembered as Lakeith Stanfield’s breakout role one day even though you may know him from Get Out or Atlanta.
Lakeith’s performance as Cash was EXTRAORDINARY and, thus far, he’s on my short list for the Best Actor Oscar. In fact, he’s my favorite to win Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical Golden Globe Award. Book it. There’s something about his slouched, Charlie Brown-ish body language and sad eyes that is so endearing. The rest of the cast was great as well. The resident straight man, played here by Armie Hammer, has a pretty funny role. It’s great to see him do some comedy — The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is one of the most rewatchable movies of the last 15 years, in my opinion. Omari Hardwick plays Mr. _____ (they bleep out his name), Cash’s Power Caller mentor, and was really good. So good, in fact, I thought it was Jordan Peele until I looked it up after the movie. Bravo sir. Tessa Thompson plays artist and rebel, Detroit, Cash’s girlfriend. She’s so hot right now, having played Bianca in Creed, Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok, and Josie in Annihilation.
Sorry to Bother You is a fun, quick-hitter that makes you think and laugh. Boots Riley, Lakeith Stanfield, and the rest of the cast have bright futures in Hollywood. It’s not often that a film comes along that is this funny and this original.