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Is Sprinter Based on a True Story?

April 20, 2020
4 min read

‘Sprinter’ is a film directed by Storm Saulter that follows the life of a Jamaican teenager Akeem Sharp (Dale Elliot) who aspires to run track. The award-winning film explores the life of its central character Akeem and his family. Akeem’s mother works illegally in the US to provide for the family, whereas his father, a constant drunk, tries to take care of his two sons. Set in the rustic life of Jamaica, the film is an emotional rendering of Akeem’s dream to provide for his family.

Is Sprinter Movie Based on a True Story?

No, ‘Sprinter’ is not based on a true story. That said, the socio-political reality of the film is very much rooted in real life and perhaps the central message of the whole film. The first issue it addresses is the lack of resources for a budding athlete. Akeem, in more ways than one, has to go through undue pressure to actualize his dreams. As a young boy, there are several distractions and dangers he edges by without proper guidance. His father is unable to give him the necessary guidance he needs, and neither can his brother, who is often consumed with jealousy about Akeem’s rising popularity. Akeem’s immediate socio-political background is the real struggle he needs to leave behind before he can run free and uninhibited on the tracks. This is a homage to many who have to break the social bondage before they can chase their dreams.

Gang Violence and Unemployment

Jamaica is not new to the turbulent issues of gang violence that are prevalent across the country. It has seen its presence as early as the 1940s during the electoral disagreements between its two major parties. In any case, the residue of it still continues to shadow the lives of people in Jamaica. The movie, in all its subtle format, tasks its viewers to get a brief glimpse of this through Akeem’s brother, Germaine. Germaine, who was once a star in the field of track himself, saw his dreams falter in the aftermath of an injury. In real life or fiction, he wouldn’t be the first to withdraw and find solace in things that are looked down upon. He falls out to be part of a lottery scam working under a local gangster.

This sheds real light on the situation of the youth in Jamaica that actually takes to such gangs and shady businesses due to the lack of proper societal and economic impetus to guide them in the right way. Jamaica has steadily been facing the issue of unemployment as well. Unemployment has inevitably played its part in promoting violence and crimes amongst the youth. It becomes their coping mechanism against falling to the pits of poverty. 

To add to this, self-esteem is heavily impacted as a result of such issues. This is clearly represented through Germaine. Having fallen from the one true opportunity that could have liberated him, he holds no hope to gain from a normal job in the society. He becomes involved in illegal activities that guarantee him some sort of popularity in a certain circle. In addition, the way he is jealous of Akeem explains his inner disdain to his own condition.

Immigrant Life

The movie extends one character to shed light on the hardships, fear, and loneliness of individuals who go seeking better means for their families in the US. Overshadowed with the troubles of being illegal immigrants, the people live on the fringes scrapping basic resources to provide for their poor families in their home country. Donna, Akeem’s mother too, has to tearfully bid goodbye to her husband and children to go seek some income in the land of opportunities. What she initially thought would be a brief stay cost her around ten years, slaving away so that her family can have a better life.

This ultimately takes a toll on the other members of the family. Families often thrive best in their maximum capacity, but the lack of one member brings its own set of imbalances. The many who still continue to live and work like this across the world face these same challenges with a dash of their own unique misery. They live at the edge of impending deportation and, even worse, the threat of jail. The film, in this manner, attributes a subtle but important role to such issues that seem to lurk around but aren’t far away from home.

Read More: Is Antrum Based on a True Story? 

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