I HAVE THE SPOILERS HIDDEN, I HAVE THE SPOILERS HIDDEN, DO NOT CLICK ON THE SPOILERS IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW THEM
Tonight, I was invited by a friend to go see the movie Fruitvale Station. My favorite blogs on tumblr have been writing good reviews, actually just recommendations to go see the film. I had no idea what it was going to be about. If you have not gone to see this movie, I highly recommend that you do. It was obvious from the previews before the movie started, that the intended audience was one that desired to be more socially conscious, and favored drama. Fruitvale Station was based on the true story of Oscar Grant. It passes both Bechdel tests rather quite easily as well: The Race/POC bechdel and the Gender/Bechdel tests. That’s the end of the spoiler-free review. Go see the movie. NOW!!!
*SPOILERS BELOW!!!! SPOILERS BELOW!!!!*
One thing was quite clear to me about Fruitvale Station. This movie was just as about race as it was as about gender, and in both instances, gender & race are performances. Two scenes that really stood out to me were the grocery store, and the gas station, back to back. At the grocery store, when Oscar meets Katy (a white woman who is, honestly, attractive) his whole demeanor changes. He’s nice, he’s going out of his way for her, letting her use his phone to talk to his grandma about advice for fish fry. Then the next instance, in the same place, Oscar confront his Hispanic boss, is frontin’, his gestures suggest he’s ready to fight for his job back, and/or bribe his former employer with drugs. Masculinity and blackness is associated with violence, defined in a defensive angry posture to white racism. In his interaction with Katy, Oscar rushes to impress her, to show he’s civilized, polite, humane, caring. The following scene happens at a gas station, as Oscar desperate for cash is struggling to decide whether or not to sell dope just to pay rent that was due the next day. Oscar meets a dog, but rather than have a “rescue the cat/rescue the cute pet” moment, in an instance that highlights Oscar’s humanity, the dog run into the streets and is killed by a speeding car. Oscar chases the car, with verbal threats of course. But he turns around, and he’s the only person that shows compassion for this dead pup. Oscar’s sense of justice is seen in this scene, no life should be taken by the arbitrary choices of another person. No matter how “insignificant.”
Lastly, if I may get theological about this movie for a second. Tatiana, Oscar’s and Sophina’s daughter is an illustration in what a Pentecostal Humanity may look like. What I am referring to is not the denomination specifically, but to the event of Pentecost, where persons of different tribes and ethnicities worshipped God together. Tatiana was fluent in both languages of both of her grandmothers, and she was able to maneuver herself in both environments. At the end of the movie, she asks, “So where is daddy?” Isn’t that the question we ask when bad things happen? Where is God in all of this? A humanity aiming towards Pentecost (the Church) would show the world, that inspite of the reign of white supremacy and gun violence, the Divine Parent, the Creator, Father and Mother of us all, is here in our midst.