Monday, January 19, 2015
Indie Review: Fruitvale Station (2013)
'Fruitvale Station': A Story With An Eye-Opening Message Despite Its Tragic End
They say to live every day like it is your last. To call your loved ones, forgive your enemies, donate money to charity and whatnot. That moral rings true because we never know when our precious lives will be taken from us. That lesson is certainly what Fruitvale Station demonstrates while it showcases the harsh realities of what racism is like today.
Fruitvale Station follows the real-life story of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) who, over the course of one New Year's Eve, tries to get his life back on track only to meet a tragic end at the hands of a few Bay Area police officers.
I'll start off with the performance by Michael B. Jordan. I thought it was amazing how he would go from being sweet and sensitive one moment then, through the use of his eyes, become thus raging yet desperate man. He doesn't portray Oscar as a patron saint, but as a simple flawed man trying to provide a better life for himself and it didn't even feel like he was acting. Hopefully, big things are on the horizon for this young talent. I also would like to acknowledge Octavia Spencer, who plays Oscar's frustrated yet loyal mother. I would say that this is her best work to date and surpasses her Oscar-winning turn in The Help.
I felt that because director/writer Ryan Coogler focused on Oscar Grant's final day alive, he wanted to demonstrate not just the theme of trying to right your wrongs, but the message of living every day like it is your last. The film has Oscar calling and spending time with his loved ones, meeting new people, and hanging with his friends before all that happiness got tragically taken away from him. So, I feel that by incorporating those events, Coogler tells the audience "You don't know what you have until it is gone" or "Enjoy every precious moment you have". While the film doesn't have a happy ending, those that watch it can potentially open their eyes after they watch it by not just being more accepting of others, but by being more appreciative of their own lives.
Overall, Fruitvale Station is a tragic yet eye-opening drama that is an honest demonstration of what racism is like today and tells us to live every day like it is your last. The acting is incredibly authentic and the writing/direction by Ryan Coogler is masterful and packs an emotional punch.
Would I Recommend It?:
Absolutely. This isn't exactly entertainment material, but it provides a good amount of lessons to be learned.