Fruitvale Station is a contrived tribute masquerading as a character study from a studio that specializes in releasing Oscar bait films.

The true story of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.

Fruitvale station is an emotional re-telling of a true to life story with great performances from the cast. Micheal B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer and Melonie Diaz were great. Its shot in a  quasi-documentary style which made the film dynamic and the crucial scenes effective.

On the other hand the film is obviously rigged to portray the lead as a martyr. Fruitvale glosses over his faults and gives an overly positive portrayal (he cries for a stray dog, starts a dance party on the train, he can’t pay the rent but gives free drugs). And of course, our hero is about to turn his life around just before tragedy strikes.

Fruitvale Station will no doubt affect a lot of people but in close inspection its emotionally manipulative. The victim’s family deserves to mourn their loss, but the film plays fast and loose about the facts of the incident. It isn’t a nuanced drama, but simply an award-bait piece that takes advantage of people’s sympathy for the victim.

My Rating: 6/10

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