STARRING: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer and Ariana Neal
EARNED (Worldwide): $17.4m
The story of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.
Fruitvale Station puts us into the last day of Oscar Grant III on New Years Eve of 2008, as he wakes up and decides that it’s time to take actions to be a better son to his mother, a better partner to his girlfriend and a better father to his daughter. We follow through his day trying to right some wrongs, which he realises these changes that he is looking to make won’t be as easy as he would like. We follow Oscar interacting with his loved ones, close friends and strangers and giving us a young man that is more than meets the eye as well as us witnessing the flawed individual that he was, before leading to the events that took place that fateful night at Fruitvale Station with BART Police.
Fruitvale Station is a film for me that progressively gets better the more times I watch it, yet the final act always seems to hit me just as hard. Sure there is a few notable moments that happen in the film that aren’t necessarily based on the true specifics of Oscar’s day (especially the dog being ran over scene has been highlighted and discussed by the director in Q&A’s after the films release), but it didn’t ruin or taint the experience for me personally, regardless of how heavy-handed it was. I mean the scene with Katie at Oscar’s ‘work’ place worked well with the scene of him helping out a stranger one minute, to losing his temper while begging for his job back the next. Sure the director tries to manipulate your views leading towards the final act but that doesn’t take away the impact you get from that tragic final act. Essentially we’re following Michael B. Jordan in the role as Oscar Grant throughout the film as the lead and he more than shows that he is a bright spark for the new generation of actors that will be on the big screen for years to come. I’ve been a fan of his following through his roles in the first season of The Wire and the last two seasons of Friday Night Lights and I’m sure he’ll do great as Johnny Storm in the new Fantastic Four film. Also worth praises is Octavia Spencer as his mother Wanda, particular in the scenes of the flashback of meeting Oscar in prison and in the heartbreaking moment she goes to identify Oscar’s body. Melonie Diaz does a good job as Oscar’s girlfriend Sophina and so does young actress Arianna Neal as Tatiana Grant.
FAVOURITE SCENE: The scene at Fruitvale Station which leads to Oscar being fatally shot. The acting across the board, the use of sound, along with the camerawork is strongly used here.
FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘I told him to take the train. I told him to catch the BART. I didn’t know they were gonna hurt my baby. I should’ve just let him drive. I should’ve let him drive, but I wanted to keep him safe. You gotta let me hug him. Please, let me hug him. Please. Please! He didn’t like to be alone.’ – Wanda
DID YOU KNOW?: Besides Octavia Spencer, another Oscar-winning actor, Forest Whitaker was instrumental as the film’s producer in getting it off the ground. He became a very early supporter of writer/director Ryan Coogler after seeing his film work in college.