Fruitvale Station FeaturedWritten by Jon Patch
The Weinstein Company, Forest Whitaker’s Significant Productions and OG Project present an R rated, 90 minute, biography, drama, directed and written by Ryan Coogler with a theater release of November 21, 2013.
Based on a true story, about a young Bay area man named Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) who wakes up on December 31, 2008 with his girlfriend Sophina (Melonia Diaz) and his young daughter Tatiana (Ariana Neal) to a day that will forever change his life and the friends and family that know and love him as well as that of the entire nation. Jordan really performs well in this role and through his body language and dialogue take on the true character of this young man looking to prove to himself and his family that he can make a difference. He may not have had that chance in life but he truly did in death. Diaz was a great support to Jordan and also had a very genuine likeability to her role as does Neal.
Today is Wanda’s (Octavia Spencer) birthday and everyone is planning a family dinner and cake at her house that evening. Oscar is once again down on his luck since he lost his job at the grocery store and for two weeks has been keeping it a secret from Sophina. When he tries to get it back his boss has already hired someone else and has told Oscar he cannot hire him back. This news caused Oscar to go off on a bit of a rage bringing up his drug past and even threatening his former boss. While at the store he helps a customer, Katie (Ana O’Reilly) as she tries to decide which fish to buy for a night’s very special dinner. The director does a nice job visually expressing a bit of discomfort at first for Katie not knowing exactly who Oscar is and why he’s going out of his way to help her but as tensions ease a friendly discussion evolves as Oscar even enlists the advice about the best fish to buy when he calls his Grandma Bonnie (Marjorie Shears). I am indeed a fan of Spencer and once again she does not disappoint as the writers also do a fine job of showing her maternal intuitions during certain moments in the story with Oscar and that of his friends.
Not quite knowing where to turn, drugs again or his family Oscar is struggling with trying to do the right thing. He even has a brief encounter with a Pit bull which doesn’t turn out so well either but once again the director does justice in showing Oscar’s love for animals and his pure heart for this loving lonely creature wondering the busy streets of the city. In 2007 when he was serving some time at the San Quentin Penitentiary his mother during a family visit had to show him some tough love while at the same time a fellow prisoner did a bit worse causing a confrontation with the man and the guards. This same prisoner eventually turns up once again in the story as does one other person from a brief encounter and at this moment in time it sparks the tragic outcome of Oscar Grant.
Oscar was a loving father, son, boyfriend and whenever possible reached out to help the people around him that deserved his help. On that night after his mother’s birthday dinner Oscar and Sophina dropped Tatiana at her cousin’s house for a sleepover since they decided to take the train into the city to party with friends. What happened on the train that early morning on New Year’s Day will forever be felt by so many in the nation as a young twenty two year old man died at the Fruitvale Station by one fatal shot to the back by a BART policeman. If it wasn’t for the over reaction of Officer Caruso (Kevin Durand) to an altercation on the train that night maybe this horrific injustice to a young man would have turned out differently. As the news stories proclaimed police officer Ingram (Chad Michael Murray) was tried for homicide and sentenced to a minimal term in jail since his attorneys where able to prove that he had thought he pulled his Taser rather than his gun.
I enjoyed the story as the director/writer did justice to it as he brought us into the intimate life of Oscar Grant right before his death. The young man definitely had his issues with the law, drugs and bad associations but he was truly trying to overcome them and become the loving father and son he knew he could be. This film is hitting the theaters in a very controversial year as the world tries to take in the outcome of the Martin/Zimmerman case that took place in Florida. The film truly depicts the views of both the black and white communities from the life that surrounded Oscar Grant. Tragedy does happen to all people in the world no matter what race but until we look at this tragedy from all sides and in a proper perspective than hate will continue to fester causing riots and injustice for all people no matter what the color of their skin.
Does a black man deserve to be treated any different than a white man and vice versa? Of course the answer is no! We all need to be treated equally but until the percentage of people in the world understand that we are truly one nation under God and decide to live for a better future than nothing will change and people will look at both this Fruitvale tragedy and that of Trayvon Martin as a reason for hate rather than a reason to correct what is wrong for all mankind of any race, religion or orientation. I believe for many people they are looking at it the right way but for many as well they still decide to add fuel to a fire that has been burning hot for too many years. Like Martin Luther King said “I have a dream” well my dream is that as human beings we need to treat each other with respect based on our actions and not on the color of our skin. This story has a very traumatic ending which will bring you to tears but hopefully as this film hits theaters people will learn from it and not react to it in the wrong way. Written with three paws out of four with hope for a better future that no longer segregates people based on race and the hope that we stop reverting backwards in time but rather understand as long as anyone closes the welcome door to any other different skin color than look in the mirror because YOU are the true racist.