The most I feel that I can say regarding the synopsis of Sorry To Bother You is that it is about a black man (Cassius Green) who takes a job as telemarketer hoping that he can make enough money to pay rent to his uncle, who’s garage he and his girlfriend are living in. Cashes hardly makes any money though, until a black co-worker of his tells him he needs to use his “white voice” to make sales. The way he describes how to do this is by pretending you don’t have a care in the world. It ends up working for Cassius and he becomes incredibly successful at his job and he ends up getting a promotion to “power seller”, an elite of telemarketers working from the top floor of the building (and have to take a special golden elevator to get there). This is only the first act of the movie, but to say anymore would begin to give away key points in the film and the less you know going into this movie, the better.
As for my thoughts on the film, it took me a little bit to wrap my head around it. Coming out of the theater, all I could do was wonder at what I had just seen. While it does start off a bit strange, it…gets…weird. One thing I do know is that I like the movie a lot. The message was incredibly well done, with the story serving as an allegory for runaway capitalism and what it means to sell out to get ahead as well as highlighting race issues. Cassius becomes much more trustworthy to the people he’s trying to sell to when he sounds white (his “white voice” is the voice of David Cross). It’s no secret that the way a person speaks can affect first impressions, but film highlights how if someone sounds “black”, it can often have a negative impression on others. Cassius also sells out and becomes something that he’s not, not even using his real voice in order to be successful, showing the lengths that some people need to go to so they can survive.
On top of its social commentary, there are many other little details put into the film that I found very. I’ll admit that I almost missed the fact that the main character’s name is essentially “money”. I did catch one very interesting thing that I think would have been easy to miss. In the call center that Cassius works in before he gets promoted there is a very energetic manager who is constantly constantly baiting the employees to work harder by telling them they could become “power sellers”. He makes it seem like becoming a “power seller” is like ascending to heaven and always points up when he talks about them. If you look closely, you’ll see that the atheist symbol is tattooed on the left side of his neck. I saw that as saying that God is dead and money is now being worshiped, but I’m sure there are other ways to look at it. The religious thread does go further, but to talk further on it I would have to give away some very big spoilers. It’s something to look out for while you watch the film.
With its deep social commentary, it’s incredible use of details, and its insane story, Sorry Bother You is a film that I greatly enjoyed and would highly recommend seeing.