Fruitvale Station recounts the last day of Oscar Grant’s life. It is a compilation of daily routine that leads to a heartbreaking end. It is an inspiring reminder of basic human decency. It challenges your views on how to treat strangers when fear triumphs over kindness.
Oscar (Michael B. Jordan) is a former drug dealer who was shot by a transit police officer on New Year’s Day of 2009. This fatal moment was seen at the start of Fruitvale Station via a cellphone video. Then the movie transitions to the day before and follows Oscar’s last full day.
Fruitvale Station shows Oscar doing his errands. It shows how he handles his unemployment and his family that is composed of his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz), his daughter Tatiana (Ariana Neal) and his mother Wanda (Octavia Spencer).
Oscar is far from being a perfect guy. But he listens to the advices given by his mother, helps strangers, and cares for a dying dog. He is just a young man trying to live his life the best way he can in the circumstances he faces daily.
Jordan carries Fruitvale Station on his shoulders and he manages to do it well. His performance feels natural. He looks like a thug with his proud posture but it is opposed by his smile and intelligent eyes. Writer-director Ryan Coogler captures Jordan’s great performance with smooth camera work as he shows Oscar’s constant text messaging on screen.
Coogler makes the movie with racial trues but also incorporates it with basic human natures. It is a constant struggle for Oscar until the end. You will be appalled by his death in the end. Fruitvale Station is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America due to language, drug use and violence. That means viewers under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to watch it.