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Movie Review: Fruitvale Station – Available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HG January 14, 2014

 

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Sometimes I think I live under a rock. Often there are big news stories that I am totally clueless about. I guess that is because I hate watching news, or even listening to it. It’s always bad news. I wish there was a 24 hour HAPPY news channel. I would watch that all the time.

Fruitvale Station is the story of a young man name Oscar Grant. Oscar did not always do the right thing. When he was a teenager he committed crimes and was sent to prison twice, once for drug dealing and the other time for weapons possession.

In September 2008 Oscar was released from prison and back at home with his girlfriend, Sophina, and his adorable daughter, Tatiana.

Oscar realized that he made a lot of horrible mistakes over the course of his young life. Even though he knew he had a long road ahead of him he planned on making up for all the wrong he had done over the years and vowed to be a better son, boyfriend and father. He wanted to turn his life around and “do the right thing”.

The film follows Oscar’s day on December 31, 2008.

Oscar is under stress because the rent is due and his sister needs to borrow money to pay her rent. The “old Oscar” would have turned to drug dealing to make some much needed cash. He did have marijuana stashed away and did make a call to a drug dealer to sell the pot to. Realizing that drug dealing with the wrong thing to do, Oscar dumps the marijuana in the ocean and tells the drug dealer that he sold it to someone else. He even gives the drug dealer a small bag that he found in his car (he did not take money for it).

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Oscar tries to get his old job back but with no luck. Even though he’s desperate for money he won’t fall back on his old bad habits.

Throughout the movie I kept wondering if Oscar was a “bad guy” or a “good guy” who made some really dumb mistakes when he was younger. He genuinely adores his daughter and would do anything in the world for her. He’s also a loving boyfriend and very much a “mama’s boy”. It’s clear that he loves his family. And it’s obvious to viewers that he is trying his best to be a better person.

For New Year’s Eve, Oscar, his girlfriend and some friends hop on the BART train to go into San Francisco for the festivities. Originally he was going to drive but his mother convinced him to take the train so she wouldn’t have to worry about him drinking and drinking. That decision turned out to be a deadly one.

On his way home Oscar got into a bit of a tussle with a thug who he knew from prison who was always going after Oscar. The fight lasted for about a minute.

The train conductor stopped the train and wouldn’t let anyone get off until the Police arrived. When they did they picked out Oscar and his friends and forced them to sit on the ground. They men tired to explain what was going on but the Police kept telling them to be quiet.

At one point Oscar was thrown to the ground (face first) by one of the officers. The officer grabbed his Taser and shot Oscar in the back with it – except it wasn’t his Taser – it was his gun!

The incident was shot with cellphones from passengers on the train Oscar and his friends were on. There is video proof of the entire incident.

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Oscar went on to die at the hospital. Riots ensued (not shown in the movie) because people felt he was unjustly killed, and others were angry about “racial profiling”. In any event a young man (he was only 22) lost his life leaving behind his grieving family, girlfriend and a young daughter that he loved with all his heart.

I have heard good things about this film, but I was reluctant to watch it because I wasn’t sure how violent it was going to be. The only violence I’ll watch are zombies gnawing on people’s brains (LOL). It was my husband who really wanted to see the film. I’m glad I listened to him.

I thought the movie was excellent. It was well acted and it didn’t bring anything “political” into the mix. The film just highlighted Oscar’s last day alive. It didn’t portray him as someone who never did anything wrong in his life. The movie did include insights into his checkered past and how he didn’t always do the right thing.

I wrote a review for the film I’m In Love With A Church Girl which is loosely based on a true story about Galley Molina. He wrote the script while in prison serving time. He was one of the lucky ones who were able to turn their lives around, regardless of their criminal past.

Did you know actor Tim Allen has a criminal past? He tried to smuggle cocaine on to a plane. Singer Jay-Z also served time for drugs, and shot his brother. And actor Danny Trejo also served time (15 years!). So it IS possible to turn your life around. That is what Oscar was hoping to do with his life.

Fruitvale Station is about love, family, redemption and trying to move past the things in life that bring us down.

There are some bonus features including a featurette about Oscar Grant and a Q&A with some of the cast and filmmakers.

Look for Fruitvale Station where ever movies are sold on January 14, 2014.

Here is one of the movie trailers for your enjoyment. Please note that this is for the movie’s theatrical release. It’s no longer in theaters. It will be on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD tomorrow.

 

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opininos expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family, five cats, dog, a tank full of fish and snails. She is also a freelance writer and photographer.