Fruitvale Station - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Fruitvale Station Reviews

Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
December 10, 2013
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 | Original Score: 4.5/5
Top Critic
Bruce Ingram
Chicago Sun-Times
December 10, 2013
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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Mary F. Pols
TIME Magazine
December 10, 2013
Writer-director Ryan Coogler's [film is an] assured and evenhanded debut.
Top Critic
Mara Reinstein
Us Weekly
September 22, 2013
It's an unflinching, 360-degree character portrait.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
July 26, 2013
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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Grantland
July 26, 2013
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 | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Geoff Pevere
Globe and Mail
July 26, 2013
We feel the death on the platform so acutely not because it's a stupid act of randomness, but hardly untypical racist violence, but because we've come to love this man.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Linda Barnard
Toronto Star
July 26, 2013
Michael B. Jordan (The Wire and Friday Night Lights) plays Oscar with the heart and compelling charm required to make us feel close to him.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
July 26, 2013
It's a story of one young man's tragedy, a story that resonates with so many other tragedies. Oscar Grant wasn't some mere symbol; this film makes him flesh and, unfortunately, blood.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
July 25, 2013
An eloquent memorial for a man who barely experienced life, and a haunting reminder of how quickly it can be lost.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Michael Sragow
Orange County Register
July 25, 2013
Empathy and authenticity keep you on the edge of your seat at Fruitvale Station.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
July 25, 2013
Some of this narrative feels cliched, but Coogler and his actors make it work by leaning toward understatement.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
July 25, 2013
"Fruitvale Station" isn't just a story of one family's tragedy, but a wounding snapshot of a society struggling somewhere between melting pot and battlefield.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
July 25, 2013
It's a film to make you weep with sorrow and anger, and one of the most necessary films of the year.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
July 25, 2013
Whatever role prejudice have played a part in the shooting - Oscar and his friends were black, and the officers were white - Fruitvale Station refuses to turn the incident into a statement on race and divisiveness.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Calvin Wilson
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 25, 2013
Coogler immerses the viewer in Grant's world, creating empathy for his struggles while also examining the realities that limit his options.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
July 24, 2013
Fruitvale Station sums up Oscar's life, but the act of summing up can tell us only so much, since a young life is still a maze of promise and indecision.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
July 23, 2013
By using a fly-on-the-wall approach, Coogler is able to tell his story in a straightforward style that gets the message across without seeming preachy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
July 19, 2013
In naturalistic and unforced strokes, he allows Grant to exist as a complex, even contradictory human, inviting the audience simply to sit with his life, his loss and what they both meant.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
July 18, 2013
Fruitvale is easy to see as something more than a movie - a diagnosis, perhaps, or a part of that sticky vortex we call the zeitgeist.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
July 18, 2013
Oscar Grant had friends, he had a sister and a mother and a grandmother, a girlfriend, a child. In concise measures, Fruitvale Station shows us these connections, these bonds.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Cary Darling
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
July 18, 2013
Even though we know where this dark road travels, the remarkable Fruitvale Station still manages to be both sorrowful and suspenseful while also celebrating a life only half-lived.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
July 18, 2013
Grant's ordinary life seems eminently dramatic even without its place in history.
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
July 18, 2013
Coogler could've settled for an enraging, full-throttle melodrama, designed to boil your blood from beginning to end. But "Fruitvale Station" is better, more heartbreaking, than that.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
July 12, 2013
Fruitvale Station's wrenching power lies in the specificity of its storytelling and the ordinary human warmth of the world it conjures.
Top Critic
Nora Caplan-Bricker
The New Republic
July 12, 2013
From the moment the arrest begins, the film is blunt and stunning, a completely absorbing, protracted nightmare.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
July 12, 2013
Although Coogler surely wants his movie to serve as a weapon against racially charged police brutality, he's smart enough, and sensitive enough, to know that this is above all a human tragedy -- and not a political rallying point.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
July 12, 2013
Coogler's film is shaky, sometimes literally slipping out of focus even as its own vision remains resolutely blinkered.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
July 11, 2013
"Fruitvale Station" is a potent dramatic chronicle of contemporary American life, crackling with energy and possibility, made with the cooperation of Grant's mother and girlfriend.
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
July 11, 2013
In the end, what is the meaning of the film?
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
July 11, 2013
At a time when the multiplexes are crowded with coarse comedy and inept spectacle, here's a homegrown movie that honors its subject and the medium.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
July 11, 2013
Fruitvale Station is a gut punch of a movie. By standing in solidarity with Oscar, it becomes an unstoppable cinematic force.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
July 11, 2013
Together, star and director get you to look at, and think about, a flawed young man you might not give a second thought if you saw him on the street.
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
July 11, 2013
A sad, touching and subtle film.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
July 11, 2013
Made with assurance and deep emotion, "Fruitvale Station" is more than a remarkable directing debut for 26-year-old Ryan Coogler. It's an outstanding film by any standard.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
July 11, 2013
As the film plays out, the audience is likely to be overwhelmed by anger and the inability to stop what is coming. Opportunities for the story to take a different turn and avoid tragedy loom, leaving a haunting impression.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
July 11, 2013
Without ever being forced or false, and with an amazingly honest eye and ear for detail, writer-director Ryan Coogler's drama about a young man's final hours is one of the most extraordinary films you'll see this year.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
July 11, 2013
The movie is modest in its ambition and powerful in its reverberations. It takes Oscar Grant's story and makes it universal - and transforms a sometimes awkward and obvious movie into a work of art.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
July 11, 2013
The real power of Fruitvale Station is in reminding us all that whenever we hear about a death -- random, accidental, foreseen or otherwise -- that lost life belonged to a real person, with complications, loved ones, enemies, flaws, hopes and dreams.
Top Critic
Randy Myers
San Jose Mercury News
July 11, 2013
While Jordan is responsible for making Oscar Grant come to life, Coogler deserves equal if not more praise for having so successfully created a sense of the world he lived in.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
A.A. Dowd
AV Club
July 11, 2013
Well intentioned and reasonably well constructed, Fruitvale Station seems to exist for the sole purpose of making what should be an obvious point: Oscar Grant didn't deserve to die, and the officer who shot him in the back had no right to do so.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
July 10, 2013
Fruitvale is outstanding, a telling portrait and testament to the life of one man and the complicated relationships to race and class that still exist within America today.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
July 10, 2013
Coogler immerses us in this life, so that when it's cut short, you won't just weep, you'll cry out in protest. Fruitvale Station is great political filmmaking because it's great filmmaking, period.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Sam Adams
Time Out
July 10, 2013
Coogler, who grew up in the same neighborhoods as Grant, evokes a tangible sense of place, and his staging of the climactic incident hits like a fist in the gut.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
July 10, 2013
A harrowing film worth seeing and honoring for boldness and insight.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Village Voice
July 10, 2013
A restrained but forceful picture that captures some of the texture and detail of one human life.
Top Critic
Jake Coyle
Associated Press
July 10, 2013
For a movie about an unjust death, "Fruitvale Station" is bursting with the colorful, messy striving of life.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Richard Brody
New Yorker
July 1, 2013
The movie is the model of decency and respect, and does honor to a life unjustly ended; it offers few surprises but is nonetheless shocking.
Top Critic
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
July 1, 2013
Fruitvale Station will rock your world -- and, if the life of Oscar Grant means anything, compel you to work to change it.
Top Critic
Geoff Berkshire
Variety
January 22, 2013
Even if every word of Coogler's account of the last day in Grant's life held up under close scrutiny, the film would still ring false in its relentlessly positive portrayal of its subject.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
January 21, 2013
A shrewd script and career-launching performances drive a tragic modern story that carries heavy social weight.