Anchor Baby goes on Netflix…

by Segun Fajemisin

…still stirring the murky waters of ‘illegal immigration’

Now, here’s one truly moving feature, a new addition to the Netflix pool. Anchor Baby (originally released in December 2010) is a poignant exposé of the grim underbelly of an immigrant’s quest for a ‘better life’, – giving birth to a baby to secure citizenship or legal residency. Sounds familiar?

Anchor Baby

Although it is woven primarily around the everyday story of ‘illegal immigration’ and those tasked with the enforcement of the law ‘removing them’, Nigerian-Canadian Lonzo Nzekwe’s directorial debut goes further to embody underhand legal consultation, the somber yet thriving market of document forgery, deceit, betrayal and the helplessness of those cornered in this unending saga.

The feature ends on a high. Emotions. Regrets. And then some. A clarion call to amnesty. Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, ‘The New Colossus’ with its epic words are cast on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the pedestal’s lower level of the Statue of Liberty. It gestures the welcoming and humane spirit of the American nation. A soothing mantra to receive people to the land of equality, fairness, and liberating opportunities.

The sagely, heart-stirring words of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, also light up the screen:

Are we a nation that tolerates the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds never have a chance to get right with the law? Or are we a nation that gives them a chance to make amends, take responsibility, and give their kids a better future? Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms? Or are we a nation that values families, and works together to keep them together?”

Yet, with intense politicisation and the ambivalent attitude of today’s administrators, the stakes have never been higher. The reality for an immigrant trying for settlement is mostly far less assuring.

Anchor Baby poster

Anchor Baby is well scripted. One big lesson (do not risk all for a taste – or worse, just a glimpse – of the greener grass on the other side). And then a couple of morals (Susan Backley’s generosity and a twisty few others). Omoni Oboli shines in the lead and is superbly convincing in her role as the main thread with which this fabric is woven together.

Almost 10 years into its release, the main message of Anchor Baby resonates still, and its continued relevance should not be in doubt. Tethered in the universality of human frailty, the film goes to highlight that people are firstly human – no matter where they are from, prone to stray off-course, and in the attempt to wriggle out of sticky situations, are liable to do desperate things.

Anchor Baby is ‘serious entertainment’. A recommended must-see.

Watch the film trailer here:

ARTful Notes is a compendium of commentaries and reports on the performing arts, literary events, and general entertainment. Anchored by Segun Martins Fajemisin. Images courtesy of Anchor Baby.

© Feferity Media Group 2020


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