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Go See Fruitvale Station, Period.

Submitted by on June 21, 2013 – 4:53 pmOne Comment

Not quite five years ago, a young man from Oakland was restrained by a police officer while on a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train. The young man’s name was Oscar Grant and moments later, he would be shot by a BART police officer, Johannes Mehserle, while restrained in one of the more recent instances of police brutality.

Why is the movie important?

Naysayers and detractors made the same statement about Oscar Grant then that they make about Trayvon Martin now. “But he was a thug!” By the way, when did our negative perceptions of others, regardless of what those perceptions might be based on, become grounds of justification for killing them?

Oscar Grant was a human being. He had hopes, dreams, a personality and point of view all his own. He had people who truly cared about him, and they lost someone very important to them when he drew his last breath.

Fruitvale Station (named, of course, for the BART station where Grant was killed) is a different, far more comprehensive look at Oscar Grant and the last day of his life. See Oscar Grant the son, the father, the boyfriend and realize the loss that occurred in those capacities that fateful day – the losses that occur when anyone, no matter how we perceive them, is killed.

In the film, Michael B. Jordan (best known for roles in The Wire and Friday Night Lights) plays the ill-fated Grant in his first leading role. The cast also features Octavia Spencer as Grant’s mother, Melonie Diaz as his girlfriend, and Chad Michael Murray as one of the BART police officers present for the incident.

Some early reviews claim that it’s too favorable to Grant, while others praise the new director Ryan Coogler who only graduated from USC in 2011! for the masterful telling of this story. The odds seem to be with the young director, who won the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and also won a Cannes Film Festival award for Best First Film.

A private screening of the film took place June 20 in Oakland at the Grand Lake Theatre. Fruitvale Station will be released to theaters on July 26.

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