Earlier this week, I had the chance to see an advanced screening of the film Fruitvale Station, a dramatic telling of the real-life events that led to the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Oscar Grant by police officers shortly after the San Francisco Bay area rang in the New Year in 2009. Powerful and devastating, a quick scan of the theater lobby after the movie finished clearly demonstrated the effect it had on viewers. It was a sea of puffy eyes and balled up tissues.
Director Ryan Coogler, himself a 26-year-old from the East Bay area, does a masterful job of showing you that while not perfect (the film notes that Grant spent time in prison, for instance), he was a man looking optimistically to the future whose life was senselessly cut short. You’d have to be heartless to walk away from the movie without having six different kinds of feelings, all of them leading to at least one shed tear.
So enough gushing about the film… Well one more: See it! It’s great! And your whole summer movie-going itinerary can’t be popcorn movies. Really, pass on The Lone Ranger, which looks terrible, and watch this instead. I got the idea from a screening buddy to take a look and see how Bay Area police and other groups have responded to the incident in the years since.