This is the true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being a better son to his mother, whose birthday falls on New Year's Eve, being a better partner to his girlfriend, who he hasn't been completely honest with as of late, and being a better father to T, their beautiful 4 year old daughter. He starts out well, but as the day goes on, he realizes that change is not going to come easy. He crosses paths with friends, family, and strangers, each exchange showing us that there is much more to Oscar than meets the eye. But it would be his final encounter of the day, with police officers at the Fruitvale BART station that would shake the Bay Area to its very core, and cause the entire nation to be witnesses to the story of Oscar Grant. Written by
The Weinstein Company
There is no mention at all in the film about Oscar's father, partly because--through his son Oscar's entire life--he was serving a life sentence for first-degree murder. However, he was permitted to also sue BART for his share of wrongful death payments. As of November 2013, his suit is still pending, while mother and daughter settled for separate total payments of $2.8 million. See more »
The particular BART system maps visible inside the train cars were not introduced until September 2009, yet all the movie's in-train scenes take place on December 31, 2008, and January 1, 2009. See more »
Let's hope greater exposure gets this film more intelligent reviews
I don't usually bother writing reviews, but this is a good little film that I feel has been unfairly maligned by a few uninformed reviewers here, so I'll add my two cents:
Fruitvale Station is a solid film, well paced and edited, with a strong lead performance by Michael B. Jordan and some standout work by Octavia Spencer. The sound design is particularly noteworthy. The cinema verite camera-work (No, "M. Brand," the visual style here was a choice; well made student films, even cheap ones, generally look better than this) left me underwhelmed for most of the film (and honestly, the mistimed focus pulls were pretty distracting) but paid off big time in the Fruitvale sequence. There the cinematography, editing, sound design, and score combined to create the most gripping ten minutes of film I've seen in a year. I'd recommend Fruitvale on the strength of this sequence alone.
Ryan Coogler admittedly takes some dramatic license with the story. Some of it (the Katie character) works, some (the bit with the dog) comes off heavy-handed. None of it gave me any reason to question the film's "fidelity" to the facts. The unfettered access to Oscar's family, legal documents from the criminal and civil case (including all the video taken on the scene), and the tacit approval of BART (They were allowed to film on the actual BART platform and in their cars!) gives me no reason to believe this film takes any more narrative license with the facts of the Fruitvale incident than many documentaries would.
The film is not perfect. Some of the performances are subpar, some of the improvised dialogue bumps, and the day-in-the-life conceit, while not ignoring Oscar's spotty past, does paint him in an unrealistically rosy light. But by and large this is a moving, gripping, at times infuriating film that will stick with you after the credits roll. Congratulations to Coogler and his team.
**As for the troll who called this film "socially irresponsible," your opinion and the reasoning behind it are so abhorrent I struggle to imagine any person, no matter how ignorant or loathsome they might be, taking you seriously.
139 of 171 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?