Indy Native Garnering Raves For Young Obama Portrayal

Newcomer Parker Sawyers’s performance gets pre-presidential approval at Sundance

As Hillary and Bernie duke it out on debate stages and Trump is, well, Trump, the current commander-in-chief—played by Hoosier Parker Sawyers—is lighting up the silver screen. Premiering last week at the Sundance Film Festival, Southside With You is a look back at the first date between a young Barack and Michelle Obama. Sawyers—a relative newcomer who grew up in Indianapolis, graduated from Wabash College, and lives in London—earned praise for his portrayal of the world’s most powerful man. Here’s what the critics are saying:

“[Writer-director Richard] Tanne had the good smarts to cast newcomer Parker Sawyers to play young Barack, a difficult job that Sawyers proves wholly adept at handling. He doesn’t do an impersonation, but he does nail certain familiar cadences, especially in a centerpiece speech at a community meeting, when Michelle first gets a glimpse of Barack’s preternatural rhetorical abilities.”
-Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

“Parker Sawyers crafts an immaculately considered portrait of a man of stature in the making; the ideas and ambitions are visible in rough-hewn form, quite recognizable from what we know publicly but with a ways to go.”
-Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

“There’s a quiet confidence to POTUS that Sawyers taps into even while portraying him at this stage of his life, but thankfully Sawyers never comes close to doing an impression of him.”
-Gregory Ellwood,

“… Sawyers and [Tika] Sumpter portray the future first couple with such sweetness and magnetism that you’d be forgiven for thinking them an item offscreen.”
-Jeff Oloizia, New York Times Style Magazine

“He’s recognizably Barack, with the same ‘no drama’ attitude and the same ability to converse with anyone about anything.”
– Noel Murray,