American Fiction

American Fiction

Thelonious “Monk” Ellison's writing career has stalled because his work isn’t deemed “Black enough.” Monk, a writer and English professor, writes a satirical novel under a pseudonym, aiming to expose the publishing world's hypocrisies. The book’s immediate success forces him to get deeper enmeshed in his assumed identity and challenges his closely-held worldviews.

  • Released:
  • Runtime: 117 minutes
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama
  • Stars: Myra Lucretia Taylor, Erika Alexander, Sterling K. Brown, Adam Brody, Leslie Uggams, John Ortiz, Jeffrey Wright, Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross, Skyler Wright, Patrick Fischler, Carmen Cusack, Dustin Tucker, Michael Jibrin, David De Beck, Michele Proude, Keith David, Kate Avallone, Okieriete Onaodowan, Miriam Shor
  • Director: Cord Jefferson
  • jamkafka - 20 June 2024
    Relatable, funny, and brilliant.
    Astounded by how creatively written American Fiction was, with perhaps one of the best screenplays and score as well as great performances from every actor. As entertaining as it can be, it is clear how powerful the subject matter is: how Black voices still today, seem to be clearly missing its "rawness", or perhaps the real material is always carved to be fed for white audiences, how it's always written for white people's entertainment and always seems repetitive losing its diversity and real representation of Black voices being ignored-for, as Monk had said, "we are so much more than that".

    American Fiction gave me a lot of realizations, tribulations, and hope, being the unknown writer I am where I relate a whole lot to Monk's character, a writer who hasn't published a new novel for years, because we can't rush good ideas now, can we? This film made me wanna release all my energy again into my manuscripts, my unfinished novel, and pour my heart and soul once more and actually finish a novel. It also favored me into ending my writer's block and actually listing down new ideas I had from watching this Oscar-nominated film which was really insightful and meaningful.

    It was quite entertaining watching a story led by Black voices on a whole different angle, where everything makes more sense, and is quite different than the rest; making Black characters seem more aware on how they're usually viewed as in the entertainment industry because "it's important to listen to Black voices right now".

    It's funny and displeasing how white people still won in the end and how it always seemed that way just for the sake of diversity and to not be "racist" that white people still get away with everything- even awarding the most trashiest thing ever written, made purely to prove a point, just to cater to white people's entertainment even if it's the most simplest type of literature to exist.
  • boss-981-447297 - 2 June 2024
    Absolutely worth watching!
    I have to be honest. I only got interested in this movie because of a TikTok video highlighting the initial 2 minutes of this movie. At first, I thought it was a joke. At second, I thought, "nah, the entire movie can't be like this". Then I decided to watch it, and yes, the movie is absolutely worth watching.

    This is a poignant story with very endearing characters. It portrays a writer, more specifically a black writer, who is bitter about the current demand for unrealistic black-related stories.

    While contemplating this generation of dumb, melodramatic consumerism over dramatic and overly exaggerated black stories, this movie tells a more grounded and realistic story about a black family struggling through many problems that many families do have. Single mother family, Alzheimer's, death in the family, distancing of brothers, etc.

    This is tagged as a comedy-drama, and while there are comedy and funny moments, this is not a story made for laughter. And while it is a drama, it's not melodramatic. It's very sarcastic but not in an overly cynical manner.

    Jeffrey Wright was the perfect cast to play the writer Thelonius "Monk" Ellison. Truthfully, every actor was very well cast. I wouldn't change any of them because their chemistry was very believable and helped us care about all of them.

    It's a well-written story about the unfortunate current state of affairs. One can only hope this kind of story gets told more often to a larger audience.

    I leave a strong 9 out of 10 here. Highly recommended.
  • emjgiddy - 21 May 2024
    A Sharp Satire with a Strong Message
    "American Fiction," directed by Cord Jefferson, is a thought-provoking satire that delves into the complexities of race, identity, and the commodification of culture in modern America. Based on Percival Everett's novel "Erasure," the film offers a biting critique wrapped in humor and sharp dialogue.

    **Plot and Characters** The story centers on Thelonious "Monk" Ellison (Jeffrey Wright), a frustrated African American writer who feels pigeonholed by the literary world's stereotypical expectations. In a moment of exasperation, Monk writes a parody novel under a pseudonym, which unexpectedly becomes a massive success, forcing him to confront the absurdities and hypocrisies of the publishing industry. Jeffrey Wright delivers a compelling performance, capturing Monk's intellectual rigor and simmering frustration with nuanced depth. The supporting cast, including Tracee Ellis Ross and Sterling K. Brown, add layers of complexity and humor to the narrative.

    **Direction and Style** Cord Jefferson's direction is incisive, blending humor with social commentary to create a film that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The film's pacing is generally brisk, though it occasionally lingers, causing some scenes to feel slightly prolonged. The visual style is clean and modern, complementing the film's satirical tone without overshadowing its message.

    **Themes and Impact** "American Fiction" tackles important themes such as racial identity, cultural appropriation, and the tension between artistic integrity and commercial success. The film's satire is sharp, often hitting the mark with its critique of how African American experiences are commodified and distorted by mainstream media. However, the balance between satire and narrative sometimes wavers, leading to moments where the film's message feels overly didactic.

    **Conclusion** "American Fiction" is a smart and engaging film that succeeds in sparking critical conversations about race and representation in the arts. While it occasionally struggles with balancing its satirical edge and narrative flow, the film's strong performances and incisive commentary make it a worthwhile watch.

    For viewers interested in a film that challenges societal norms with wit and intelligence, "American Fiction" delivers a compelling experience, earning a solid 7 out of 10.