Fruitvale Station 2013

Critics score:
94 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Mary F. Pols, TIME Magazine: Writer-director Ryan Coogler's [film is an] assured and evenhanded debut. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: A sad, touching and subtle film. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: Fruitvale Station will rock your world -- and, if the life of Oscar Grant means anything, compel you to work to change it. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: A harrowing film worth seeing and honoring for boldness and insight. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: At a time when the multiplexes are crowded with coarse comedy and inept spectacle, here's a homegrown movie that honors its subject and the medium. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: As the film plays out, the audience is likely to be overwhelmed by anger and the inability to stop what is coming. Opportunities for the story to take a different turn and avoid tragedy loom, leaving a haunting impression. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: An eloquent memorial for a man who barely experienced life, and a haunting reminder of how quickly it can be lost. Read more

A.A. Dowd, AV Club: Well intentioned and reasonably well constructed, Fruitvale Station seems to exist for the sole purpose of making what should be an obvious point: Oscar Grant didn't deserve to die, and the officer who shot him in the back had no right to do so. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Michael B. Jordan is simply brilliant in his portrayal of Grant, whom Coogler presents as a generally happy, if complex and somewhat troubled young man. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: It's a film to make you weep with sorrow and anger, and one of the most necessary films of the year. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: Grant's ordinary life seems eminently dramatic even without its place in history. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Coogler could've settled for an enraging, full-throttle melodrama, designed to boil your blood from beginning to end. But "Fruitvale Station" is better, more heartbreaking, than that. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Although Coogler surely wants his movie to serve as a weapon against racially charged police brutality, he's smart enough, and sensitive enough, to know that this is above all a human tragedy -- and not a political rallying point. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: Fruitvale is easy to see as something more than a movie - a diagnosis, perhaps, or a part of that sticky vortex we call the zeitgeist. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: It's hard not to watch Fruitvale Station with a coiled dread... Yet, Coogler's greatest achievement may be in reminding us that Grant was a work in progress with people who loved him in spite of his flaws and because of his hopes. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: It's a story of one young man's tragedy, a story that resonates with so many other tragedies. Oscar Grant wasn't some mere symbol; this film makes him flesh and, unfortunately, blood. Read more

Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/ Even though we know where this dark road travels, the remarkable Fruitvale Station still manages to be both sorrowful and suspenseful while also celebrating a life only half-lived. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Coogler immerses us in this life, so that when it's cut short, you won't just weep, you'll cry out in protest. Fruitvale Station is great political filmmaking because it's great filmmaking, period. Read more

Amanda Mae Meyncke, Fruitvale is outstanding, a telling portrait and testament to the life of one man and the complicated relationships to race and class that still exist within America today. Read more

Wesley Morris, Grantland: You wonder if Coogler would have felt freer had Grant somehow lived that night, if the director weren't put in a position where he felt the need to honor the dead by bringing him to dramatic life. But he believes in his ambition. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: A shrewd script and career-launching performances drive a tragic modern story that carries heavy social weight. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: Made with assurance and deep emotion, "Fruitvale Station" is more than a remarkable directing debut for 26-year-old Ryan Coogler. It's an outstanding film by any standard. Read more

Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News: While Jordan is responsible for making Oscar Grant come to life, Coogler deserves equal if not more praise for having so successfully created a sense of the world he lived in. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: Whatever role prejudice have played a part in the shooting - Oscar and his friends were black, and the officers were white - Fruitvale Station refuses to turn the incident into a statement on race and divisiveness. Read more

Nora Caplan-Bricker, The New Republic: From the moment the arrest begins, the film is blunt and stunning, a completely absorbing, protracted nightmare. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: Some of this narrative feels cliched, but Coogler and his actors make it work by leaning toward understatement. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: Fruitvale Station sums up Oscar's life, but the act of summing up can tell us only so much, since a young life is still a maze of promise and indecision. Read more

Richard Brody, New Yorker: The movie is the model of decency and respect, and does honor to a life unjustly ended; it offers few surprises but is nonetheless shocking. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: Coogler's film is shaky, sometimes literally slipping out of focus even as its own vision remains resolutely blinkered. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR: Together, star and director get you to look at, and think about, a flawed young man you might not give a second thought if you saw him on the street. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Without ever being forced or false, and with an amazingly honest eye and ear for detail, writer-director Ryan Coogler's drama about a young man's final hours is one of the most extraordinary films you'll see this year. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: In the end, what is the meaning of the film? Read more

Michael Sragow, Orange County Register: Empathy and authenticity keep you on the edge of your seat at Fruitvale Station. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Oscar Grant had friends, he had a sister and a mother and a grandmother, a girlfriend, a child. In concise measures, Fruitvale Station shows us these connections, these bonds. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: By using a fly-on-the-wall approach, Coogler is able to tell his story in a straightforward style that gets the message across without seeming preachy. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Fruitvale Station is a gut punch of a movie. By standing in solidarity with Oscar, it becomes an unstoppable cinematic force. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, "Fruitvale Station" is a potent dramatic chronicle of contemporary American life, crackling with energy and possibility, made with the cooperation of Grant's mother and girlfriend. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: The movie is modest in its ambition and powerful in its reverberations. It takes Oscar Grant's story and makes it universal - and transforms a sometimes awkward and obvious movie into a work of art. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: Fruitvale Station's wrenching power lies in the specificity of its storytelling and the ordinary human warmth of the world it conjures. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Fruitvale Station" isn't just a story of one family's tragedy, but a wounding snapshot of a society struggling somewhere between melting pot and battlefield. Read more

Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Coogler immerses the viewer in Grant's world, creating empathy for his struggles while also examining the realities that limit his options. Read more

Bruce Ingram, Chicago Sun-Times: The intimacy of debut writer-director Ryan Coogler's approach to the film and the no-frills, believably real quality of the main performances combine to drive the senselessness of Oscar's killing home with visceral impact. Read more

Geoff Pevere, Globe and Mail: We feel the death on the platform so acutely not because it's a stupid act of randomness, but hardly untypical racist violence, but because we've come to love this man. Read more

Linda Barnard, Toronto Star: Michael B. Jordan (The Wire and Friday Night Lights) plays Oscar with the heart and compelling charm required to make us feel close to him. Read more

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: The real power of Fruitvale Station is in reminding us all that whenever we hear about a death -- random, accidental, foreseen or otherwise -- that lost life belonged to a real person, with complications, loved ones, enemies, flaws, hopes and dreams. Read more

Sam Adams, Time Out: Coogler, who grew up in the same neighborhoods as Grant, evokes a tangible sense of place, and his staging of the climactic incident hits like a fist in the gut. Read more

Jake Coyle, Associated Press: For a movie about an unjust death, "Fruitvale Station" is bursting with the colorful, messy striving of life. Read more

Geoff Berkshire, Variety: Even if every word of Coogler's account of the last day in Grant's life held up under close scrutiny, the film would still ring false in its relentlessly positive portrayal of its subject. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice: A restrained but forceful picture that captures some of the texture and detail of one human life. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: In naturalistic and unforced strokes, he allows Grant to exist as a complex, even contradictory human, inviting the audience simply to sit with his life, his loss and what they both meant. Read more