Saturday, August 3, 2013

August 3: Fruitvale Station Review

I was going to make a goal to blog every day in August...and then I didn't blog on August 1.  Obviously I am awesome at achieving the goals I set.  I might still give it a try for the rest of the month.  We'll see.

For today's post, here's my review of a great movie I saw tonight, Fruitvale Station.
I don't pay much attention to the news or current events.  So when Oscar Grant was shot in the back by a police officer in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2009, I don't remember hearing about it.  This whole story was new to me, so I came into the movie with no previous opinions or biases.  I did see the movie with some friends who lived in the Bay Area at the time of this incident which added a unique perspective.

I thought this was a really great movie.  It's not very long, but it was extremely well paced and every scene was well used and important (with the exception of one scene with a stray dog, which I thought was kind of unnecessary). The style was simple but effective.  I especially liked the way they used the screen to show cell phone calls and messages.  Also, Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer were amazing in their roles!  I will be rooting for some Oscar nominations for them and for the film.

The movie portrays Oscar Grant as a real human.  He made good choices and bad choices, and I felt that the movie fairly showed both sides.  He was real, just like me and you.  His realness was so effectively portrayed that it made the final scene of the movie beyond heartbreaking.  Even though I knew what was going to happen before I even walked into the theater, when the movie reached its climax and I saw it on screen, I was in tears.  It takes a lot to make me cry during a movie, but this movie did it.  One could argue that the movie is emotionally manipulative, but I think it worked well for the purpose of the movie.

I didn't feel like the purpose of the movie was to make a big statement about racial discrimination and violence or even what happened at Fruitvale Station on January 1, 2009.  What I felt after watching this movie was compassion for a man whose life on earth was taken away far too soon.   I think it is so important to remember that we are all human; no matter what color our skin is...we all are human and we all make mistakes.  As I go back now and read about this event, it was a hugely divisive topic that caused riots and more violence throughout the Bay Area.  And in the midst of all the debate, I think it is easy to forget that Oscar Grant was a real person.  A person who loved and was loved by his family and his young daughter.  A person who appeared to want to make changes in his life, but he ran out of time. 

After watching this movie, I don't think I will ever be able to forget Oscar Grant or what happened to him at Fruitvale Station that day.  It's a touching and tragic real life story that I never would have known if not for this movie.  Go see it; it is most definitely worth your time!!!


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