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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real life
This film was hard to watch because I knew the horrible conclusion. It is heartbreaking, but Michael B Jordan somehow makes it more so with his performance as the flawed hero. He and the director brought to life a young man struggling to overcome his own mistakes and the obstacles our society places in front of young black men from the inner city. I am not one of those...
Published 5 months ago by john francis leonard

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Thinking-Man's Movie
While not the most exciting or thrilling movie I've seen all year there are definitely merits to FRUITVALE STATION. I vaguely remember this event and paid little attention to it as I live in the Pacific Northwest far from the hullaballo of the Bay Area in California. This slice of life movie deals with the main character's last day, which happens to be New Year's Eve. We...
Published 4 months ago by Steven James


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, April 8, 2014
This was much better than I expected. Shows just how important each day really is and how quickly it can all change in a minute.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Worth Watching, April 7, 2014
This review is from: Fruitvale Station (DVD)
Fruitville station...Fruitville station...was that about the crazy guy shot by police? NO! Too many incidents like this happen--it becomes hard to keep them straight. Most often we hear about them for one or two days in the news, and then they vanish.
This is a "docu-drama"--a portrayal of the events that led to the unjustified shooting of a young black man at a BART station early on New Year's Day. As such, it sounds like it will be highly polemic, or very depressing. I found it not exactly either one. The script writing and direction and acting realistically depicted a few days in the life of a young black man, his girlfriend and children, his family and friends, over the course of a couple days leading up to and including the shooting. It was sensitively done, not over-romanticizing the character and making him out to be a saint, but very briefly depicting some prior run-ins with the law, resulting in several arrests and at least one prison term before he was even 22 years old. Nevertheless, it shows he was really struggling to avoid falling back into bad habits: to be a better father, son, boyfriend, hopefully husband, and to find honest employment. If the movie falls down in any area, it would be a relative lack of analysis of the macroeconomic trends in our country, creating a class of permanently unemployed [or else, illegally-employed]-- mainly for those without the right education or the right job-skills; especially those living in blighted city-environments where jobs are hard to find, hard to keep, and don't pay enough to support a family; especially for young people; especially for young males; especially for young males of color. But that was not the intent of this movie. The intent was to personalize this problem: as experienced by Oscar Grant, by his girlfriend, his daughter, his mother and his friends. Although their parts were performed by actors, at the very end of the film we very briefly see the scene of a protest at the location where he was shot, which includes the real mother, the real daughter, and other grieving family members. This was both a very personal, and a universal tragedy, unfortunately. It was well-done and well worth watching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close to home, April 6, 2014
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This review is from: Fruitvale Station (DVD)
The worst thing about this movie is it was not nominated for an oscar. Yes, "12 Years a Slave", "The Butler", and many other deserving films were just as worthy, but this film is if you were living with the people who the story was about. Amazing first time director, and many first times in the cast told a story that should not have happened, but did. Go ahead, see it; it will remind you of the savage society we live in, but ignore the lies and dismiss someone's future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!!!!!, April 4, 2014
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This review is from: Fruitvale Station (DVD)
This movie was so gooooooooooooooood I would highly recommend it. I cried for the young man, his daughter and his finance. This movie hit so close to home because its sad to say - this really does go on in many communities. What a shame this young man who had so much positivity within himself had to die at the hands of a scared rookie! Better training is needed and the stopage of racial profiling!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Last Day in the Life of Oscar Grant, April 3, 2014
This review is from: Fruitvale Station (DVD)
Ryan Coogler’s first feature-length film “Fruitvale Station” is based on the real-life 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant at Fruitvale Station, Oakland, but those who want to know more about what happened on the fateful New Year's Day may be disappointed. This is a film dramatization of the last twenty-four hours of Oscar Grant (played by Michael B. Jordan), except some actual video footage inserted.

So the comparatively short film (only 85 minutes) is more like an attempt to put a human face to the victim of the shooting than a record of the incident itself, and it largely works. The film is most effective when Octavia Spencer (“The Help”) as Oscar’s mother is on screen, bringing an emotional reality to the role.

We don’t really know how much of the screenplay is based on the actual events. Did Oscar Grant befriend a stray dog at the gas station? Some scenes look forced, some drawn-out. Of course this is the director’s version on the life of Oscar Grant, but thanks to the solid acting from the star Michael B. Jordan, and “Fruitvale Station” is a compelling drama.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This story creates an amazing connection between the audience and Oscar, April 2, 2014
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The goal was to let you know who Oscar was and this film did great job of giving you an idea during his last day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great, April 2, 2014
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this movie was one of the best ive ever watched the way it played out was so sad though i shed a couple tears and prayed for some closure to the family
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Day In The Life: A Powerful, Yet Understated, True Life Tragedy, March 19, 2014
This review is from: Fruitvale Station (DVD)
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The debut feature from writer/director Ryan Coogler, "Fruitvale Station," was one of the most critically lauded films of 2013. For some reason, though, I was wary of rushing right out to see it. Now that I've had a chance to catch up with this tight and effective little film, I want to pay it (and Coogler) an enormous compliment. "Fruitvale Station" is a powerful examination of a true life tragedy. That isn't what makes it a great movie though. Although the subject matter is weighty, unpleasant, and important, Coogler has shown great restraint in story telling. In other hands, this movie might have made an overwrought political statement--letting issues and debate outshine personal drama. Instead, Coogler's film showcases an ordinary life cut short. Its hero is neither a saint nor a villain, but a regular guy just trying to make the right choices. The film's screenplay doesn't ask that you accept its subject as anyone other than who he was. And he was Oscar Grant III. Grant might have made some questionable choices in his short life, but that doesn't make what happened to him any less tragic.

"Fruitvale Station" takes a minimal approach, adding to the gut wrenching realism. This is just a day in the life of Oscar Grant. Unfortunately, though, it is his last. And in his final day on earth, Grant didn't do anything spectacular. The day was filled with the usual ups and downs, nice moments and disappointments as well. The 22-year old Bay Area resident was trying to keep his daughter happy, make a nice birthday for his mother, and enjoy a New Years celebration in San Francisco. He was also struggling with lost employment and trying to distance himself from dealing. An altercation with transit cops, however, proved to be fatal. The actual case got nationwide attention as the events were recorded by many of the witnesses. And in a bold choice, Coogler uses actual footage of the event in opening the movie. While I might be concerned about using this as an exploitative filmmaking choice, here it strengthens the abject horror of this completely unnecessary and unjust death.

"Fruitvale Station" achieves its power from its simplicity. It doesn't judge what happens, just lays it out for you to make your own determinations. Michael B. Jordan serves a multi-layered performance as Grant, proving he is one to really watch! Provided he keep choosing the right material (sadly, his next major role was in That Awkward Moment), he has the potential to do great things. Melonie Diaz and Octavia Spencer also make a strong impact as the women in Grant's life. Spencer, in particular, as Grant's mother has limited screen time but has such an assured dignity that it takes over her scenes. At a tight ninety minutes, "Fruitvale Station" really resonates from an emotional place. Having seen the film about a month ago, I have thought back on the experience many times. That's saying a lot in these days when most movies are so easily forgettable. A simple filmic structure makes you feel like a fly-on-the-wall in the last moments of Oscar Grant's life. And by choosing to be understated, the film soars to unexpected depths. KGHarris, 3/14.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great story line, March 2, 2014
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This review is from: Fruitvale Station (DVD)
I enjoyed the movie from the beginning until it got to the ending. I hate to be left wondering what happened with the cop that shot him.
They should have sued the police department.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great factual movie!, February 24, 2014
This review is from: Fruitvale Station (DVD)
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I thought this was one of the best films I have seen in a long time. Acting was wonderful (don't believe the other reviewers) and I thought the directing was superb. If you enjoy fact based movies, this is one that should not be missed. No small wonder it won at the Sundance Film festival last year. Great, great movie. Buy it and watch it with your high school/ college age kids!
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Fruitvale Station
Fruitvale Station by Michael B. Jordan (DVD - 2014)
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