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BRONX OBAMA (#HotDocs14 Review)

Directed by Ryan Murdock

It is 2007 and a Puerto Rican single father is struggling to make ends meet in the Bronx. He is at a point in his life where he is stuck, with the American dream far from his reach. That is until people begin to inform him that he bears a striking resemblance to then presidential candidate, Barack Obama. Louis Ortiz then gives himself a makeover, and takes to Times Square to make a few bucks next to mascots like Elmo and Mickey Mouse. After Obama is elected, Ortiz sees that he can make a career for himself. After appearing in a few Asian music videos and an episode of Flight of the Conchords, Ortiz joins a troupe of political impersonators, which includes a Mitt Romney, Donald Trump, and an out-of-shape Bill Clinton. As the gang performs debates for Republican conventions, Ortiz begins to question the offensive material he is presenting.


Ortiz is a very likeable subject in BRONX OBAMA, and audiences will feel for him as he fights to make enough money to support himself and his daughter, who will soon be going to college. The film is at its best when showing the relationships between the team of impersonators, who’s strange group dynamics could’ve been the basis of a film in itself. The second half of the film attempts to create suspense as the 2012 election nears. Ortiz knows that if Obama does not get reelected he will be out of yet another job. Obviously, every person watching the film knows the outcome of this election, so no real tension can be created. Ignoring the failed conflict of the film’s second half, BRONX OBAMA is still an intimate portrait of a man who so desperately wants to achieve happiness, and Ortiz will surely capture the hearts and sympathies of his viewers.

3 sheep

#HotDocs14 Screenings

04.29, 7:00 PM, Scotiabank

04.30, 12:30 PM, Hart House Theatre

05.03, 1:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox

Click here for tickets.

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How many sheep would you give Bronx Obama?


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