Fruitvale Station is not a movie you should just try to see. It’s not a movie that you should simply put on your radar. And don’t cast it into the category of – I’ll just wait to see it on Netflix.
It’s earned well-deserved accolades from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. The directorial debut of Ryan Coogler is nothing but smashing. For me, I primarily went to see the lead actor, Michael P. Jordan. I became a huge fan after watching him in the super amazing, super awesome television series Friday Night Lights.
However, these kudos should not be the fuel for your Go impetus. Rather, it’s the opportunity to witness a man’s story that is both beautiful and tragic. Some of you may be familiar with this narrative and some of you may not.
It is there, in that intersection of the differences of our lives that should fuel your Go impetus.
I went to see the film two weeks ago with my fellow book club members. In the small, dark theatre that beautiful Thursday evening, there were only eleven of us total in the theater. When the movie ended and the credits rolled, all eleven of us remained in our seats. We processed; we continued sniffling. We lingered; we were unable to move. In that shared moment, we were a diverse group of viewers across gender, age and ethnicity. Yet regardless of our lived experiences, we sat steeped in a collective reflection of emotion and thought. This movie humanizes.
Fruitvale is based on a true story. It’s a 24-hour glimpse into the intersections of Oscar Grant’s life. We are exposed to his unbridled passion and his fight to survive and provide. We see the intersections of his envisioned future and his present, both being shaped by his previously lived experiences.
We are not privy to what leads Oscar to his early choices. He is surrounded by a loving family and a fiercely committed and wise mother. As I watched the movie, I was keenly aware that Oscar did not instigate negative situations, yet they were present. His responses were girded in a strong sense of self, protection and survival.
If you find yourself familiar with this life narrative, Oscar’s choices and decisions make sense. If you are not familiar, they do not. I have spoken with friends with varying levels of familiarity. One seems to have more answers than questions; the other seems to have more questions than answers. Either way, there is no right or wrong.
What is present and right is the opportunity to dialogue, learn and gain insight when we meet at that intersection of lived experiences…as wildly different as they may be.