Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 46 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 185 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 46
  2. Negative: 0 out of 46
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jul 11, 2013
    100
    At the age of 27 Mr. Coogler seems to have it all, and have it firmly in place a clearsighted take on his subject (no airbrushing of flaws or foibles here, just confident brush strokes by a mature artist); a spare, spontaneous style that can go beyond naturalism into a state of poetic grace, and a gift for getting, or allowing, superb actors to give flawless performances.
  2. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jul 18, 2013
    100
    It shows us the everyday pressures and problems, the joys and pleasures, experienced by someone moving through life. And then that BART train pulls into Fruitvale, and the rest is history.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jul 26, 2013
    100
    Fruitvale Station is only the first in a string of civil-rights minded movies set to hit theaters this year -- contributing to what could be the most racially conscious award season in recent memory.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jul 11, 2013
    88
    Fruitvale Station is a gut punch of a movie. By standing in solidarity with Oscar, it becomes an unstoppable cinematic force.
  5. Reviewed by: Simon Braund
    Jun 2, 2014
    80
    A deeply moving drama played out on the small stage of ordinary people’s lives. An unforgettable performance from Jordan invests Grant with real humanity, while Coogler’s unvarnished script and sure-handed direction propel the film to its inevitable, terrible conclusion.
  6. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jul 25, 2013
    75
    Coogler occasionally overplays his hand: The scene in which Oscar says goodbye to his daughter for what we know will be the last time is prolonged to the point of overkill.
  7. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jul 11, 2013
    40
    Coogler isn’t exactly an invisible hand. He pokes and prods his audience at every turn: Neither the false moments nor the powerful ones leave much mystery about how we’re supposed to feel.

See all 46 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 53
  2. Negative: 2 out of 53
  1. Jul 12, 2013
    10
    An emotionally draining experience that left the audience in silent, but in a good way. One of the best movies I've seen this year. Ryan Coogler has a true gift in making the audience invest in a character. Michael B. Jordan does a great job. Highly recommend. Expand
  2. Mar 21, 2014
    10
    Sincerely powerful, it reminded me of John Singleton’s Boyz N The Hood. These films are both earnest, striking and magnificent directorial debuts. Directed by Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station is highly ambitious, it is for the hardened hearts and Coogler has articulated his deep-rooted connection with the story flawlessly. The film is based on the real-life tragic shooting that happened at Fruitvale Station on the New Year’s Eve of 2009. This irrefutable piece of reality haunts the film and makes it duly hard to watch. Yet, you are transfixed.

    Oscar Grant, a 22 year-old man with lots of feelings, cares for many people and many people care for him. We spend New Years Eve with Oscar as he goes about his daily routine, struggling and searching over the various obstacles that many working-class people face. This is the side of the story that Coogler has decided to tell. SPOLIER. It is the day leading up to the death of young Oscar Grant.

    We sample Oscar’s daily life; we get caught up in his agitated world. Michael B. Jordan gives a brilliant performance as Oscar, and understands the prejudice history that exists within the borders of the Bay Hill area. Nonetheless he gets on with daily life and is determined to make a difference. He doesn’t necessarily care about what others think of him, he has the “don’t give a **** attitude”, but this doesn’t make him a thug. It is the territory of young and black cinema, as was the term coined for the work of Spike Lee. It is promising that Coogler will have more heartfelt stories to tell that will contribute the past thirty years call for social justice in media, popular culture and sadly life.

    Oscar is clearly troubled but events in his life. He wishes to share his inner burdens with others, he has a lot of close mates, but it is his girlfriend (Melonie Diaz) and mother (Octavia Spencer) who come through as most compassionate. Despite past hiccups, the family gets together and celebrates New Year’s Eve without controversy and with great empathy, as it is also Oscar’s mother’s birthday. The family is “lifted up” by God, as spoken by the radiant mother. It is soul-destroying when she blames the tragedy on herself. She only wanted her “baby” to do what would seemingly be safest: catching the BART train to town, rather than drink driving.

    The cinematography is closing in, the train is entering Fruitvale Station, and my heart is already pounding. The scenes in which the incident takes place are harrowing and expertly crafted. It is mayhem and for no alleged reason; this is the lunacy of the incident. I’ve never quite felt so strung and wounded by the cinema.

    This film deserves mass attention and should be honored for its courage.
    Expand
  3. Nov 22, 2014
    9
    A heart gripping story about Oscar Grant a young 22 year old boy that died after a cop shot him, Michael B. Jordan is currently one of Hollywood's best young actors and he will have many great performances in the future. Octavia Spencer is amazing in this film. Ryan Coogler's direction is great. Expand
  4. Jul 1, 2014
    8
    Although I was excited to see this movie, I didn’t get around to watching it until now. The film follows the true story of Oscar Grant leading up to the tragic events of New Year’s Eve 2009. At first the film’s setup seemed a little basic. I had to remind myself that this was a true story and the filmmakers were shooting for a very realistic portrayal of Oscar Grant’s life. To about the forty minute mark this movie moved pretty slow but never once became boring. In my opinion this is one of the most important aspects in film and if makers can keep you intrigued while capturing realness then you know they did it right. The acting was down to earth, gritty and the cast made the movie feel real. The cinematography was personal and made me feel like I was right there. This was one of the heaver films I have seen and it really hit me. I have to admit I teared up in the last twenty-five minutes. I can’t really bring forth anything wrong with this movie, besides the fact it was slow moving in the start but that was all justified in the end. Fruitvale Station is a spectacular film and I highly recommend it, just prepare yourself for some pretty intense moments. Expand
  5. Aug 21, 2013
    8
    Oscar Grant (played by Michael B. Jordan) is a young 22 year old Black man, just recently out of jail for dealing in drugs, and he is trying to make a better life for his daughter Tatiana (Ariana Neal) who he loves unconditionally, starting a life with her mother Sophina (Melonie Diaz) and regaining his mother’s (Octavia Spencer) respect though he has never lost her love.

    We follow Oscar on New Year’s Eve December 31, 2008, and see the various aspects of this man from caring for an animal that is hit by a car to not standing down to an ex-con he had problems with in jail. Like most men at that age he makes some mistakes like telling an ex-employer off and a few hours later helping people he doesn’t know. The love that he has for his daughter and the sweet human being he can be comes out with every scene with her.

    “Fruitvale Station” is based on a true story of a Black man being shot by a white officer in the Bay area of San Francisco and some bad decisions made that New Year’s Eve. How many people outside of that area remember the story or even the name of Oscar Grant? Yes the same question could be asked about 3-4 years from now of how many people, outside of Florida, will remember the name Trayvon Martin.

    Oscar was shot in the early morning hours of the new year by a white policeman who claimed he thought he was using his taser when he shot Oscar in the back. The scene is shown opening the movie as many phones recorded the whole event. What may not be known, or remembered, is what happened afterwards and that is told before the end credits are shown. The final scene will bring tears to your eyes unless you have no feelings left when it comes to the waste of a young man’s life and a daughter without a father.

    This is the movie debut of writer/director Ryan Coogler and except for a few missteps, which could be a generational difference such as when he used music or the hand held camera, but he looks at what happened on the subway station with a cold eye, and compassion, working together, so you know he is not manipulating the viewer and when they gasp it is from the heart.

    Michael B. Jordan gives an award winning performance as does Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz and the young Ariana Neal. This is a good film but just misses being a must see one due to the opening scenes which takes away from the impact.
    Expand
  6. Dec 16, 2013
    7
    With prominent cases of violence due to racial profiling still hitting the headlines in America, the release of 'Fruivale Station' feels like a fitting entry in this impressive year of films.It tells the true life story of Oscar Grant III and the day leading up to his demise at the hands of police officers in the titular train station. The moments leading up to this fateful event were morally and emotionally resonant for the man; and along the way we learn about not only the love he has for his family and friends; but also the demons of his past. A hearty round of applause must be given to Michael B. Jordan for bringing both grit and soul, to a character that could easily be seen as being overly sanctimonious. A bit too considerate on the part of director, Ryan Coogler; whose direction may not have been very refined. However, his vision was clear and he does the job well. What job might I ask... telling an emotionally powerful story, about an issue vital to all generations. Expand
  7. May 3, 2014
    3
    It tells a very moving story about the last hours of a living man in an attempt to reach a wide audience. It's a shame it had to pass up the ethical approach for a cliched template that fails to defend the victim for these actions. Expand

See all 53 User Reviews

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