A24 | Release Date: June 7, 2019
7.2
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Generally favorable reviews based on 62 Ratings
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44
Mixed:
12
Negative:
6
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8
BHBarryJun 22, 2019
“Last Black Man in San Francisco” is a film starring Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors and Danny Glover. Fails, who plays himself in the film, wrote the story which so resembles his own and Director Joe Talbot together with Rob Richert co-wrote“Last Black Man in San Francisco” is a film starring Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors and Danny Glover. Fails, who plays himself in the film, wrote the story which so resembles his own and Director Joe Talbot together with Rob Richert co-wrote the screenplay. This is a tender, warm, well written and well acted story of the city of San Francisco and its diversified and unique group of residents who struggle to survive, recapture and hold on to their past. But the real essence of the film and its story is family history and how difficult it is to remain close to it as the adult years overtake us. I give the film an 8 rating and suggest that after seeing the film the viewer will leave more than his or her heart in the city by the Bay. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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5
TrypsinogenJun 22, 2019
I'm black, I live in the Bay Area (though never lived in San Francisco proper) and I still don't get what this movie is about. I found myself repeatedly asking, "Why is this a movie? Is this going to go anywhere?" Spoiler: It didn't, at leastI'm black, I live in the Bay Area (though never lived in San Francisco proper) and I still don't get what this movie is about. I found myself repeatedly asking, "Why is this a movie? Is this going to go anywhere?" Spoiler: It didn't, at least not really and to nowhere special. Or maybe this is supposed to be some artsy **** that just all went over my head somehow? Was a small audience I saw it with and several people walked out. If I wasn't with someone, I would've walked out as well because it was just too boring. Very disappointing. Expand
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6
AvishanHSep 18, 2019
Smart shots,good acting and editing...
It had all the ingredient to be a great movie but somehow couldn't manage to get there.Not a bad first experience for Joe Talbot.He definitely raised the bars for his next works
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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2
GreatMartinJun 28, 2019
Definitely not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, I was once again taken in by very positive word of mouth. After being shown at the Sundance festival the Internet lit up with raves. When I came home, after seeing "The LastDefinitely not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, I was once again taken in by very positive word of mouth. After being shown at the Sundance festival the Internet lit up with raves. When I came home, after seeing "The Last Black Man in San Francisco", I went to the metacritics web pages to find out what they saw that I didn't.

"...poignant filmmaking with an invigorating spirit" (Detroit News), "A story that melds realism into make-believe" (Seattle Times), "Lyrical, visually stunning, the poem to loss, lies and making peace with the past" (Washington Post), "It's the kind you fall into with your whole heart" (Entertainment Weekly) and "A fresh and original story of two outcasts..." (The Hollywood Reporter). The only words I agree upon from all these are '..story of two outcasts.'

The film is based on the true story of Jimmie Fails, who stars as Jimmie, and Jonathan Majors, playing his buddy called Montgomery, who is a writer and Jimmie's 'love' with an old home that he states as fact that his grandfather had built in 1946. One of the problems I had was the ages of Jimmie and Montgomery but without giving any spoilers it didn't jibe with quite a few points in the story.

There are hints of what could have been but that make-believe prevents the film from going to make it deeper including the friendship between two men that is strong without being homoerotic. There is a Greek chorus of sorts made up of 5 men that are always 'across the street' that provides a reason for a factor near the end of the film but only takes up a lot of unnecessary time. This is only one incident that slows up the film but though we meet Jimmie's father, aside from knowing they don't have a relationship we don't get much further than that and even less of the relationship with his mother who he meets, 'accidentally' on a bus.

The film really revolves around the two guys and the house but strays too far in many other parts of the script. There are some beautiful shots of San Francisco including Fails and Majors skateboarding together and singularly through the streets of the city but a scene of a white man running and stripping through the streets and another white man, nude, sitting on a bus bench next to Fails may seem to want to show some of the vibes in San Francisco but it is nothing you won't see in New York, New Orleans, Houston or any other big city. Are they white for a reason? If so I didn't get it.

Obviously I didn't get a lot in "The Last Black Man in San Francisco" but except for, maybe, a half hour, I found the movie to be slow and in some episodes, for instance, the play, to be way too much make-believe to take seriously or just a simple question of at their age why are they living in a very cramped place with Montgomery's blind grandfather, why doesn't Fails have a phone though he works, now and then, it seems. By the way, Danny Glover plays the grandfather and it feels like his part was drastically cut!

It was a choice of seeing "Yesterday" or "The Last Black Man In San Francisco" and Allen picked the latter so I'll blame him. (Mmmmm--should I mention that he slept through most of the first hour?)
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2 of 5 users found this helpful23
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2
jhepJul 16, 2019
This film strikes me as wildly self-indulgent. I saw it with my brother and we agreed to walk out after about an hour. The script is largely non-existent. Much of the dialogue is impossible to follow and cries out for sub-titles. Within theThis film strikes me as wildly self-indulgent. I saw it with my brother and we agreed to walk out after about an hour. The script is largely non-existent. Much of the dialogue is impossible to follow and cries out for sub-titles. Within the first hour we get to see about 1 minute of Danny Glover, which is a terrible waste. I so enjoyed Glover's performance in Jim Jarmusch’s very impressive “The Dead Don’t Die” that the fact that he was in this movie got me wanting to see it. All in all a very disappointing and disorganized mess that goes to the "whimsy well" at least once too often and then makes a habit of it. Final note: because only young black male actors are allowed to use the N-word, the film goes overboard and uses it "in your face" ad nauseum. Who knows maybe that’s why so many white, middle class, liberal film critics felt compelled to give it a glowing review after squirming and sweating in their seats for a couple of hours? Expand
1 of 4 users found this helpful13
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6
TVJerryJul 1, 2019
This semi-autobiographical film revolves around Jimmie Fails (who stars and also co-wrote). Along with his best friend (Jonathan Maators), he dreams of reclaiming the beautiful Victorian home that his grandfather built. This film is loadedThis semi-autobiographical film revolves around Jimmie Fails (who stars and also co-wrote). Along with his best friend (Jonathan Maators), he dreams of reclaiming the beautiful Victorian home that his grandfather built. This film is loaded with introspective musings, interesting imagery and stylized situations (even a trash-talking Greek chorus). There's a basic story underlying all of this, but it's much more about creating an artistic exploration of the issues than narrative. Expand
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9
moviemitch96Jun 21, 2019
This is a film about an African American man who's lived and grown up in San Francisco his whole life with his best friend by his side, as the two long to make a living and try to find a way to hold onto their family home there. The film isThis is a film about an African American man who's lived and grown up in San Francisco his whole life with his best friend by his side, as the two long to make a living and try to find a way to hold onto their family home there. The film is semi-autobiographical, as lead actor Jimmie Fails and director Joe Talbot both went through similar trials in life together like the ones depicted in this film while trying to get this made. Their effort and passion certainly shines through in virtually every scene, as each shot feels so deliberate and beautiful. The performances from everybody involved, including a touching performance from veteran actor Danny Glover, are all excellent. Overall, it manages to be equal parts funny, moving, and all-around unique and beautiful to watch, serving as not just a love letter to San Francisco, but to all of life's most important themes, such as love, family, friendship, and dreams. It's certainly one of the best films I've seen so far this year! Expand
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4
Brent_MarchantJun 28, 2019
I suppose there's a good story hidden somewhere in this film, but it never surfaces. The picture's reliance on gorgeous cinematography of a beautiful city and some capable acting are far from enough to save this cluttered, unfocused mess of aI suppose there's a good story hidden somewhere in this film, but it never surfaces. The picture's reliance on gorgeous cinematography of a beautiful city and some capable acting are far from enough to save this cluttered, unfocused mess of a story. Perhaps the biggest issue is that the film tries to cover too much ground and doesn't do most of its many, many themes justice as a result. From gentrification to white privilege to black-on-black violence to busting the balloons of unrealistic pipe dreams, the film raises more questions than it answers or even fleshes out. "Last Black Man" may be pretty to look at, but it clearly needed a few more rounds of script review to pull off whatever it was attempting to do. Expand
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8
Aldemir_LMay 3, 2020
Both a love letter to San Francisco, and a nice piece of contemporary cinema.
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9
swelleanorJul 4, 2019
This is a beautiful film, with wonderful visuals and a moving story. It also got more laughs in my theater than some recent major studio comedies I could name.It's true that it's a slow, poetic film and not necessarily an easy one. I thinkThis is a beautiful film, with wonderful visuals and a moving story. It also got more laughs in my theater than some recent major studio comedies I could name.It's true that it's a slow, poetic film and not necessarily an easy one. I think this would be a good one to make sure to see in a theater, if possible. Expand
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7
tjd27540Jul 4, 2019
After reading all of the reviews for this movie, I had high expectations for it. This is always risky. There are many wonderful little moments contained here, and the acting is very good, but I had the feeling several times, especially at theAfter reading all of the reviews for this movie, I had high expectations for it. This is always risky. There are many wonderful little moments contained here, and the acting is very good, but I had the feeling several times, especially at the end, that this film could have been compressed by 30 minutes and still have told the same story just as well. Expand
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7
JLuis_001Dec 16, 2019
A good and enjoyable film that has two problems that made me reconsider my rating and that although they affected, in the end they don't make so much damage.

I talk about the length and how manipulative the plot can be and I hate when the
A good and enjoyable film that has two problems that made me reconsider my rating and that although they affected, in the end they don't make so much damage.

I talk about the length and how manipulative the plot can be and I hate when the story of a film tries to manipulate you but even in spite of how pretentious it can be, I enjoyed it and I cannot deny its quality in both its direction and its performances
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9
GrantD243Sep 13, 2019
The Last Black Man in San Francisco has one of the best cinematography/musical score/acting combinations of this year. It slowly sunk its hooks into me over the first hour, and then I was all in for the second hour. It's a film about SanThe Last Black Man in San Francisco has one of the best cinematography/musical score/acting combinations of this year. It slowly sunk its hooks into me over the first hour, and then I was all in for the second hour. It's a film about San Francisco and how it has changed, and it's also a film about letting go. The final 30 minutes will stick with me for quite a while. I'm surprised A24 didn't put more of an awards push behind this one. Expand
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10
DSENAug 28, 2019
My favorite movie at Sundance this year I remember it premiered on a Saturday at noon and really gave me an unforgettable experience.
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10
jaketjakJul 17, 2019
Through the sweeping soundtrack with its moments of tension and pace-pushing...to the daydreamy views of the city and the moments of gorgeous minutiae...this film elicits the youthful dreams/illusions of grandeur in the viewer, if you let it.Through the sweeping soundtrack with its moments of tension and pace-pushing...to the daydreamy views of the city and the moments of gorgeous minutiae...this film elicits the youthful dreams/illusions of grandeur in the viewer, if you let it. Preoccupied with ourselves, we all get caught up in justifying our faults and finding societal failures. This film allows our daydreams and grim realities to coexist, for a time. Expand
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7
hnestlyontheslyOct 7, 2019
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Last Man in San Francisco is a story about the myth of ownership and a film that touches on gentrification and masculinity through comically earnest and odd characters, surrealist commutes, and black humor. The film is weighed down by its bias toward the literary–it’s a script for scriptwriters, that savors its own cleverness, and stumbles on its own commentary about storytelling. I don’t need very much more of a reason than knowing A24 is the production house, but I’m happy to have someone making films about the city I see when I visit rather than the sanitized, impersonal vision that other romcoms try to present.

My favorite scenes are 1) the opening five minutes, 2) the surrealist elements of Jimmie and Mont’s commute, and 3) Mont’s quirky directorial confrontation with the neighborhood gang outside his grandfather’s house which at once shows how eccentric he is while also tearing away the fourth wall in very straight performance of the joke. Wife said when she saw that scene, it was the first time she considered that Mont might be just as weird as his friend Jimmie, that the two of them matched one another in their eccentricity.

Friend saw this with a colleague a couple days after us and said it never really felt like it got off the ground and gained momentum. I don’t know if I totally agree, but let’s circle back to this when we talk about the final act.

Jimmie Fails is a newcomer to the silver screen–plays himself, wrote the story. Jonathan Majors, who plays Mont, hails from two films I’ve seen before the weird cowboy film with Christian Bale that turned its objective lens on the violence of the Old West and White Boy Rick. Not necessarily films you might think of as “ensemble pieces,” and yet he defies typecasting, rebrands himself completely in every role. Don Glover plays the role of ailing grandfather subtly: never asks his grandson to stay outright, always comes in from an oblique angle, asks to help brainstorm the script, offers to let Jimmie stay without reservation, lets him sit on the couch in a poignant contrast with one of the early scenes in the film.

The end of the film leads up to a feelsy meta-play that Wife had little patience for, but the resulting action is a powerful representation of loss on both a personal and urban level. Mont is unexpectedly bereft of his companion when a happy ending seemed within his grasp. Jimmie’s exchange with the two white women on the train grousing gauchely about their sour grapes in San Francisco, “You can’t hate it unless you love it,” rubbed Friend the wrong way. “I wish we had seen some evidence that Jimmie loved the city outside of simply the house of his childhood,” which I think is an interesting point. We don’t see a lot of situations in which Jimmie and Mont enjoy the city, because they have already been exiled to the suburbs. The more I thought about that, the more it started to irk me too.

The true end of the film, though, accomplishes some things that I think mark it as a film that is good because it is different–in the way that it does not give the audience what it expects of it or of the genre. The final scenes, of Jimmie back at Mont’s house, but newly integrated into the family, of Mont alone and adrift, are the fulfillment of that damning pronouncement, if you can’t live there, it’s SF’s loss not yours.
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10
jradMITJan 17, 2020
This is a great movie. It will be too slow for some people, and a lot of people will not be able to grasp the underlying meanings and understand the real life parallels, or appreciate the stripped down dialogue. But the film really isThis is a great movie. It will be too slow for some people, and a lot of people will not be able to grasp the underlying meanings and understand the real life parallels, or appreciate the stripped down dialogue. But the film really is beautiful and provides a surreal experience that is thought provoking. The experience is similar to a play. Like I said it won’t be for everyone, especially those who don’t like a more abstract movie, but it really takes you into another world and draws a parallel to this one at the same time. Expand
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