Review: American Fiction

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Title: American Fiction
MPA Rating: R
Director: Cord Jefferson
Starring: Jeffrey Wright, Tracee Ellis Ross, Sterling K. Brown
Runtime: 1 hr 57 mins

What It Is: Thelonious ‘Monk’ Ellison (Wright) is a novelist who is struggling to find inspiration for his next novel. When he sees Sintara Golden (Issa Rae) making it happen by profiting off of the stereotypes and fear of Black culture that many White people have. In order to challenge what he sees as a gigantic hypocrisy he comes up with a pen name and writes a book in order to show this. Even if he’s the only one in on the joke.

What We Think: This film starts out like gangbusters. Joke after joke and situation after situation is put forth that’s hilarious. Then something in the film shifts and the family drama takes over. Then there’s the ending. Thanks! I hated it. This was a film that I thought was really good but should’ve been great. It’s satire is mostly on point and Jeffrey Wright is damn fantastic here. He certainly earned an Oscar nomination here even if the films ending is it’s downfall. The event that leads to the shifting of tone comes out of nowhere and didn’t really work out as I think Cord Jefferson thought it would. All in all a fairly enjoyable film chock full of interesting characters and one hell of a hook in it’s story.

Our Grade: B, This is one to see. It has all the ingredient but overcooks them when it counts the most. At the end. Sterling K. Brown was excellent here. It’s a role we’ve CERTAINLY never seen from him. It was nice to see Erika Alexander back on a screen. Loved her in Living Single back in the day. Don’t get me wrong the satire doesn’t really ever miss it is in the standard film mechanics where the movie is a miss for me.

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