Fruitvale Station (2013)



Critic Consensus: Passionate and powerfully acted, Fruitvale Station serves as a celebration of life, a condemnation of death, and a triumph for star Michael B. Jordan.

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Movie Info

Winner of both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, director Ryan Coogler's FRUITVALE STATION follows the true story of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), 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 (Octavia Spencer), whose birthday falls on New Year's Eve, being a better partner to his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz), who he hasn't been completely honest with as of late, and being a better father to Tatiana (Ariana Neal), their beautiful four year-old daughter. Crossing paths with friends, family, and strangers, Oscar starts out well, but as the day goes on, he realizes that change is not going to come easily. His resolve takes a tragic turn, however, when BART officers shoot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Year's Day. Oscar's life and tragic death would shake the Bay Area - and the entire nation - to its very core. (c) Weinstein
R (for some violence, language throughout and some drug use)
Directed By:
Written By:
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Michael B. Jordan
as Oscar Grant
Melonie Diaz
as Sophina
Octavia Spencer
as Oscar's Mother
Kevin Durand
as Officer Caruso
Chad Michael Murray
as Officer Ingram
Ariana Neal
as Tatiana
Trestin George
as Brandon
Michael James
as Carlos
Jemal McNeil
as Cephus
Alex García (II)
as Officer Sanchez
Laurel Moglen
as Mrs. Mason
Liisa Cohen
as Tenisha
Brian Richardson
as Lead Surgeon
Noah Staggs
as Officer Davidson
Kurt Cotton
as BART Cop
Jennifer Nicole
as Female Paramedic
Ruben Rivera
as Cale's Friend
Nicole Maxali
as Surgical Nurse 1
Jessica Clark
as Surgical Nurse 2
John Burke
as Surgeon
Marjorie Shears
as Grandma Bonnie
Alejandra Nolasco
as Officer Salazar
Marvin Greene
as Mr. Mason
Herman Tsui
as Marcus
Maya Tapia
as Mariana
Patrick Sieler
as Paramedic 1
Tom Cokenias
as Corrections Officer 1
Wanda Johnson
as Mrs. Stacy
Alan C. Foster
as Corrections Officer 2
Saul Ramirez
as Corrections Officer 3
Charmaine Davis
as Register Nurse
Jonez Cain
as Danae
Chris Morocco
as Donald
Robert Aljouny
as Officer Newsom
Nick Crispen
as BART Cop
Dustin Miller
as BART Cop
Sergio Valle
as BART Cop
William Enzoe Bayley
as Male Paramedic
Lola Preza
as Cale's Girlfriend
Levi Zavala
as Cale's Son
Jason Garcia
as Cale's Friend
William Gochez
as Cale's Friend
Tristan Gray
as Cale's Friend
Israel Cesar
as Angelo
Noah Zavala
as Isaac
Monty Paulson
as Surgeon
Matthew Ward
as Surgeon
Spencer Kalin-Mulder
as Resident Doctor
Della Hamlin
as Fruitvale Station Agent
James Mastel
as Hayward Station Agent
Guzman Leonel
as Young Teenager
Reggie Rahming
as Young Teenager
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Critic Reviews for Fruitvale Station

All Critics (189) | Top Critics (53)

Michael B. Jordan is simply brilliant in his portrayal of Grant, whom Coogler presents as a generally happy, if complex and somewhat troubled young man.

Full Review… | December 10, 2013
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

The intimacy of debut writer-director Ryan Coogler's approach to the film and the no-frills, believably real quality of the main performances combine to drive the senselessness of Oscar's killing home with visceral impact.

Full Review… | December 10, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Writer-director Ryan Coogler's [film is an] assured and evenhanded debut.

Full Review… | December 10, 2013
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

It's an unflinching, 360-degree character portrait.

Full Review… | September 21, 2013
Us Weekly
Top Critic

It's hard not to watch Fruitvale Station with a coiled dread... Yet, Coogler's greatest achievement may be in reminding us that Grant was a work in progress with people who loved him in spite of his flaws and because of his hopes.

Full Review… | July 26, 2013
Denver Post
Top Critic

You wonder if Coogler would have felt freer had Grant somehow lived that night, if the director weren't put in a position where he felt the need to honor the dead by bringing him to dramatic life. But he believes in his ambition.

Full Review… | July 26, 2013
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Fruitvale Station

A tragic story of intolerance and injustice that sustains an ubiquitous tension right from the first scene (when we are told how it all ends) and eschews any hint of melodrama, showing Oscar as a three-dimensional person with qualities and flaws in order to remind us of the value of human life.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Michael B. Jordan excels in a sensitive portrayal of a troubled young man, unaware that his time is running out. A poignant story with simple but gripping storytelling.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

While racially motivated police violence isn't anything new, "Fruitvale Station" is a feature to watch in our present political climate, in lieu of ongoing protests around the country. Directed by Ryan Coogler, who won Sundance's Grand Jury Prize in Drama, "Fruitvale Station" depicts the 24 hours before Oscar Grant's death at the hands of transit police, on New Year's Day 2009. The film features actual footage from the shooting, and the protest at the BART station one year later. Jordan stars as Grant, a man who is characterized as having a troubled, often tumultuous life. Recently out of prison, fired for being late to work, and dealing marijuana on the side, Grant has all the makings of a careless criminal. Inversely Grant is a considerate and sweet natured individual who takes care of his daughter and girlfriend, loves his mother, is friendly to strangers, and hopes for a better future. These two parallels show the realities of Grant's life and personality, neither demonizing him nor canonizing him for his behavior. The film simply tries to point out that Grant was not the perpetrator of any crime, that he was unfairly treated and killed, only because of his race. Grant makes for an interesting character, his kindness interlacing with his own personal demons throughout the narrative. This film serves well as an indignant example of the unfair conventions of police brutality, than as a biopic, yet still this entertains throughout as a film. The editing is amazing, the score is poignant in its placement, the performances from Jordan, Butler, and Diaz are realistic and thoughtfully achieved, and the direction from Coogler makes for an interesting watch. The only thing keeping this from being perfect is that it is pointed, and is trying more to educate than entertain, which explains the short runtime and lack of interiority from Grant. I highly recommend this film for those grappling with present events, or for those who just want to watch a well-made, politically motivated piece of filmmaking.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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