Seeing A Film Tonight? Take A Deep Breath And Watch The Heartbreakingly Poignant Fruitvale Station

It's an important watch.

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by Jess Commons |
Published on

**What’s this? **Fruitvale Station. A film from first-time filmmaker Ryan Coogler that shows the last 24 hours in the life of 22-year-old Oscar Grant before he died in a police shooting that rocked America back in 2009.

Who’s in it? Michael B Jordan plays Oscar, a good-hearted guy with a habit of getting into trouble. Octavia Spencer plays his mum and, weirdly, Chad Michael Murray of One Tree Hill fame pops up for all of five minutes at the end.

So what happens? Well, it’s New Year’s Eve, and coincidentally, Oscar’s mum’s birthday, and Oscar spends the day in his hometown of Oakland, California meeting colleagues, friends, family AND hanging out with his girlfriend and daughter before heading into San Fransisco for New Year's Eve festivities. On the way back, he gets into an altercation at Fruitvale Station, and, following a scuffle with the police, the unthinkable happens. FYI, this isn't a spoiler. There's real-life camera phone footage of the incident that serves as the opening scene of the film.

What are people saying about it? 'This is a movie of rare passion and power. It's harrowing to watch, but its intensity is deeply rewarding for anyone who wants to learn more – not only about the social injustices that continue to plague this country, but also about something that tragedy has always taught us best: The essential nobility of the human soul. This Oscar is more than deserving of one of those other Oscars – the ones that celebrate the best achievements in film...' Peter Clothier, Huffington Post

What are we saying? Holy crap, this is one powerful piece of cinema. The success lies mainly in the incredible performances given by both Michael B Jordan and Octavia Spencer, who both manage to be subtle yet totally commanding every time they appear on the screen. Another brilliant aspect of the film? Oscar Grant wasn't a saint and Ryan Coogler isn't about to paint him as one. IRL Oscar had been arrested at least five times and spent two years behind bars before his death, and the film features flashbacks to his time in prison, meetings with drug dealers and him lying to his girlfriend. This raw and open honesty feels like a priveleged peek inside a private life and, subsequently, makes the events of January 1 2009, all the more harrowing. Go, take a hanky and your thinking cap, and find a place to have a quiet sit down after. You're going to need it.

Follow Jess on Twitter @jess_commons

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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