My review may contain minor spoilers:
Yes, the casting decisions were right on! The wonderful Ving Rhames is Sam and Freddie Highmore is Hally (or "Master Harold") in what could have been a terrific movie. Unfortunately, the disjointed direction and script make this a somewhat confusing movie.
Hally is a sensitive young teenager who's bullied at school and abused at home by his alcoholic, racist father. They live in South Africa during Apartheid, so the viewpoints were pretty much normal. However, Hally has a friend in Sam. Sam is a Black worker in Hally's family restaurant. He's kind and patient. He has given Hally the only rare good childhood memories he's ever had.....like learning to fly a kite. There's a side plot that concerns Willie (Patrick Mofokeng), the other restaurant worker and friend of Sam. Willie is concerned with entering a Ballroom Dancing competition. Sam speaks to Willie about not beating his wife. So the movie deals with other forms of abuse.
When he learns that his father is going to be released from the hospital, Hally has a meltdown. He finally snaps and takes his anger out on Sam and Willie. What Hally does to Sam is ugly and demeaning. The last scenes between a dignified Sam and cold Hally are golden. The ending was predictable given the time and place.
I really wanted to love this movie. Both lead stars are terrific in carrying their roles. But the movie tends to meander too quickly in other directions and the filming is even messy. It could have been so much better!