Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Fruitvale Station’: The Most Emotionally Engaging Film of the Year

Note: Normally, I wouldn’t write a review and publish it a few days after its release date, but this film moved me and shook me to the core, I just had to write a quick review.

I can’t remember the last time I cried during a movie. Like, really embarrassingly cried in the theatre. By the end of Fruitvale Station, I had to sit through the entire credits, just to start breathing normally again. I was that choked up.

Based on a true story, director and screenwriter Ryan Coogler tells the tragic tale of Bay Area resident Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan). For those who don’t know the story, Oscar was shot and killed in cold blood by a police officer on New Years Day 2009. This film follows Oscar 24 hours before his untimely death and how it affects his family, the Bay Area and the entire nation.

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Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle) brings this story to life and is worthy of an Oscar nomination for his gripping and emotional performance in the movie. I feel Jordan gives life to Oscar in a way that his family and friends would appreciate and respect. There are several scenes where Jordan is alone and it says a lot of an actor who can display emotion and carry a film, even when in the scenes where he doesn’t have dialogue.

Ryan Coogler succeeds here because he is able to connect the audience to Oscar’s life, showing his relationships with his family, friends and his struggle in overcoming his troubled past. Coogler focuses on Oscar’s character rather than making the film all about the tragedy, which adds the emotional core to the movie.

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Octavia Spencer, who plays Oscar’s mom, is also wonderful here. Even though the actress has limited screen time, she completely captures the grief and heartache a mother would go through in that situation. One of the best supporting performances I’ve seen all year.

Fruitvale Station is one of the best and most emotionally charged films of the year. The film also makes for a brilliant showcase for actor Michael B. Jordan. I dare you not to cry as you leave the theatre. Stop what you’re doing now and go see it!

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