Fruitvale Station - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Fruitvale Station Reviews

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½ September 29, 2017
It's a good and infuriating story of yet another gross American injustice. To its credit it does not go overlong. To it's further credit, it shows a lot of the faults of the victim and does not make him out to be a total saint (although there were a few saintly details thrown in that did not feel true - such as the death of the dog and his reaction to it). I'll say 7.4 out of 10.
August 17, 2017
GREG: (Greg Smith, Founder of Agile Writers of Richmond, VA) Scott, in this special edition of Reel Heroes we comment on a different kind of film brought to us by writer/director Ryan Cooger and producers Forest Whitaker and Octavia Spencer.

SCOTT: (Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond) Yes indeed. Today we re sharing our thoughts about a new film called Fruitvale Station, which doesn t aim at all to be a summer blockbuster. Instead, its goal is to share the details of the tragic story about a young man s life and senseless death.

GREG: At Reel Heroes we rate movies on two scales: we award Reels for entertainment value and Heroes for the adherence to classic hero paradigms. Fruitvale Station breaks the mold of both scales. It doesn t aim to entertain as much as inform. The lead character is not a classical hero. Instead, he is an everyman who has made a decision to change his life and is cut down before he can act on his choices. Rather than try and fit Fruitvale Station to our usual forms, we have elected to comment on the film and how it affected us, giving the film the attention and criticism it deserves.

SCOTT: Fruitvale Station begins by introducing us to a young man named Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), who lives in Oakland, California. Oscar is married to Sophina (Melonie Diaz) and has an adorable young daughter named Tatiana (Ariana Neal). We learn many things about Oscar, including the fact that he has served time in prison, that he has cheated on his wife, and that he is about to lose his job for being chronically late. But we also learn that he adores his wife and child, he has many friends, and he is a devoted son to his mother Wanda (Octavia Spencer).

GREG: I felt hesitant approaching a review of this movie. I m a middle-aged white suburbanite. I wasn t sure that I could relate to a 22-year-old black man living in urban California. But that is what Fruitvale Station does best - it makes the story of Oscar Grant relatable. Director Cooger takes us step-by-step through Grant s last day of life. We learn that he s lost his job, his sister depends on him for financial assistance, his 4-year-old daughter adores him, and he dearly loves her, his girlfriend loves him and so does his mother. In short, we come to learn that Grant has all the things in his life that we all have in ours: he has people he loves and people who love him.

SCOTT: You re right, Greg. There s no way that you and I can appreciate just how difficult it is to be a young black man in this country. But this movie does its best to bring those challenges to life and, at times, shove them brutally right in our face. The movie portrays Oscar as a man with a good heart who genuinely wants to improve his life, and a flashback scene to his earlier prison days truly underscores his personal growth and maturity since that time. Michael B. Jordan does an outstanding job of giving Oscar s life a sweet yet jarring reality. And of course we re appalled at the utter senselessness of Oscar s death. We know the death is coming and it s painful watching the scene unfold in tragic and tearful detail.

GREG: As entertainment, the movie falls flat. It proceeds from event to event, plodding along without the extreme high or low points that a normal drama would have. There were times when I felt bored. And there were times when I thought I knew what would come next. There s a point in the film where Oscar is completely down. He s broke, people around him need his financial help, and he turns to the one thing he has in abundance: weed. I expected him to solve his problems by skirting the law again. But when his buyer is late to the deal, Oscar reconsiders and dumps the whole package into the bay. This is the point where we realize Oscar has really taken stock of his life and made a decision to make a change. I m not much more aware of life in the shoes of young urban black men now than I was at the beginning of Fruitvale Station. But I am more keenly aware of how every man s life has irreplaceable value. There are people who depend on each of us. There are people who care about us. Fruitvale Station reminds us that each and every one of us is capable of redemption and deserves respect.

SCOTT: Greg, I thought that Fruitvale Station did a good job of giving us an up-close and personal look at the life of a young man whose growing potential was snuffed out tragically. If I had a problem with the film, it is based on my cynicism about its purpose. Yes, we need to know about the life of Oscar Grant and how a white man ended it (and got away with it) through either sheer incompetence or brutal malice. But most African-American shooting victims come at the hands of other African-Americans. Surely there are many, many more Oscar Grants who die in a black-on-black crime and whose stories also need to be told. And yet they won t be told because black-on-black crime is not an issue that our country wants to confront as aggressively as white-on-black crime. In my opinion, the stories of all innocent victims of gun deaths need to be told, regardless of the race of the victims or the perpetrators. The story of Oscar Grant saddens me deeply, and I hope it does more than divide our already racially divided country even more. My hope is that the movie can inspire positive, constructive changes so as to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future. If Fruitvale Station can help achieve that goal, then it is a film well worth watching.

GREG:
½ August 10, 2017
A powerful movie... just sad that this stii continues even more frequently
August 5, 2017
I had this uneasy feeling in my stomach the entire time. Knowing the outcome of events increased my eased feeling through out the film.
June 18, 2017
An emotionally and powerful performance from Michael B. Jordan portraying a man who lost his life on New year's eve of 2009.
June 5, 2017
A very sad and true story ...
May 10, 2017
Very inspirational and shows how police aren't very trustworthy
½ April 10, 2017
It was a powerful movie with great performances. I love how they showed Oscar grant as a good guy with a sorted history in staying out of trouble trying to imorove his life and still a work in progress with his family. It's a tearjerker but also a must see!
½ March 31, 2017
the only complaint I have with Fruitvale station is that they show what actually happens in the beginning of the movie, they open the movie with it and you're like what do I have to look forward to, but besides that this movie is great, the story is great and Michael B. Jordan is fantastic in it
March 24, 2017
A passionate cast and well put together script make for a compelling piece of film.
½ March 10, 2017
Good, but it would have been better if they didn't tell you the end at the beginning. Knowing he was going to die from the start ruins the movie.
February 28, 2017
My favorite movie of 2013. Excellent.
February 25, 2017
Ryan Coogler's directorial debut is so passionate and powerful. The last thirty minuets will leave you so angry and sad for days after viewing. Michael B. Jordan is amazing and shows that he can hit the very dramatic notes. Not a movie for the faint of heart because this movie can break you.
February 4, 2017
Fruitvale Station is a passionate, timely and realistic drama that honors the life and death of its protagonist and serves as a warning for institutionalized racism.
January 10, 2017
The Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler collaborations begin here with a touching true story that needed to be told.
January 2, 2017
What a great and powerful true story this is. This pisses me off that black people are treated the way they are. We all bleed the same blood and we are all human. This film had really got to me and how disgusting humans really far and can be!!!
December 31, 2016
Ever hear or read of an actor giving a "riveting!" performance?

Well, what is meant by that?
What is riveted to whom?
Michael B. Jordan had me riveted to his roller coaster ride of emotional intensity. The rivets were the fasteners with which he had me connected to every nuance of Oscar's deep empathy for the suffering of others, all the raw scary edges, his threateningly murderous rageful anger when feeling cheated and abused, and his extreme charm and charisma when really "on" and getting over in a hard world, and being normal, himself, with family and friends. Seductive in the most wholesome version of the ability to really connect in a moment, to us and the other characters. Some really wonderful scenes with other actors, like in jail talking to Octavia Spencer as Mom. A very powerful scene. Oscar is all over the map in blinks of the eye.
This was a masterful performance.

The movie is a very fine and lucid character study of Oscar Grant.
Michael B. Jordan makes him a very complex but ultimately lovable sweet young man. This is the foundation of a very effective tragedy. Plus I had expected the structure of be the classic circular bookends. It could have easily ended with the within reenactment of what we see in the opening phone video and been a masterpiece, an artful, and a socially righteous drama.
But it did not end in the scene at the station. We ride out the dark ripples at the tragedy as they repeatedly roll over, mom (Octavia Spencer), mate (Melonie Diaz), her daugher, and everyone. And with them we feel these tragic waves hit us watching, again and again.
This is a great movie.
½ November 12, 2016
I thought they did a really good job of telling the story without trying to make it a one-sided, anti-police story. Michael B. Jordan was excellent in playing Oscar Grant, and the good/bad that went along with the character.
October 29, 2016
Heartbreaking, poignant and relevant.
½ October 14, 2016
Career making performance by Michael B. Jordan. A heartbreaking and eye opening film.
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