Movies

Movie Review: ‘American Fiction’

Jeffrey Wright - American Fiction
Photo Credit: Claire Folger © 2023 Orion Releasing LLC. All Rights Reserved.
american-fiction-new-key-art

American Fiction, Cord Jefferson’s brilliant directorial debut, is now playing in theaters.

About ‘American Fiction’

The film confronts our culture’s obsession with reducing people to outrageous stereotypes.

Jeffrey Wright stars as Monk, a frustrated novelist who’s fed up with the establishment profiting from “Black” entertainment that relies on tired and offensive tropes.

To prove his point, Monk uses a pen name to write an outlandish “Black” book of his own, a book that propels him to the heart of hypocrisy and the madness he claims to disdain.

American Fiction Key Art - Jeffrey Wright

Our Review

It was writer James Baldwin who made the declaration, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a state of rage almost, almost all of the time — and in one’s work.”

Navigating through this world as an African American is a lesson taught by a dichotomy of ancestral tradition and indoctrination.

The latter is detrimental because appeasing the masses seems to be the only way for the minority to get ahead.

Mainstream America seems to have an insatiable appetite for “Ghetto Glorification”, and we continue to feed them, for better or for worse, to feed ourselves.

In American Fiction, a disgruntled black author attempts to make a mockery of the very illiterate literature white America adores.

Is this film a New York Times Best Seller or should it be on the list of Banned Books? Let’s go!

I dumb down for my audience and double my dollars. They criticize me for it yet they all yell, “Holla!”

The eagerly anticipated comedy/drama American Fiction stars Jeffrey Wright, Tracey Ellis Ross, Issa Rae, Erika Alexander, and Sterling K. Brown.

Wright plays Thelonious “Monk” Ellison, a novelist-professor who becomes frustrated at the fact that his well-written books are being outsold by stereotypical urban works.

Erika Alexander - Jeffrey Wright
Erika Alexander stars as Coraline and Jeffrey Wright as Thelonious “Monk” Ellison in ‘American Fiction’ (Photo credit: Claire Folger) © 2023 Orion Releasing LLC

As an act of defiance, Monk writes the most outlandish, “blackest” novel ever, hoping to call out mainstream readers for supporting such offensive tropes.

Instead, his book becomes a top-seller, and he’s forced to defend what he abhors.

American Fiction is a masterclass in satire.

Not since Spike Lee joints like School Daze and Bamboozled has a film like this made society turn the mirror on itself in this kind of unabashed fashion.

A myriad of scenarios is explored: White America’s fascination with black stereotypes, Black America’s disdain for perpetuating stereotypes, selling out, and giving in.

Although this sounds like a convoluted plot, it flows smoothly.

American Fiction also sheds light on aging, parental care, and acceptance.

Wait a minute, this sounds serious as hell. Are there any funny moments? C’mon, y’all…

The entire cast has chemistry like a high school science class!

Wright’s character Monk has that dry humor that’s seriously hilarious, and when he makes white executives cringe at their incessant love of black hood tales, those reactions are classic like a “Chappelle’s Show” skit.

sterling k brown - american fiction
Sterling K. Brown in ‘American Fiction’

Sterling K. Brown’s character Cliff – maaaan listen! This dude STAYS keeping you laughing.

Monk’s attempts at anonymity as his fame rises are outrageous.

The things he does to remain privately famous will have you shaking your head – in a good way.

American Fiction is a movie that America needs.

It will make Black and White folks look at themselves in a humorous yet genuine way.

What would you do if faced with this situation?

You can scream integrity all you want, but problems require money, and money can be quite convincing.

This is one of the best films of the year, and I’m co-signing American Fiction to the fullest!

It’s an Oscar contender, so check it out if you can.

They call America the land of the free, but it will cost you something.

You just have to decide what you’re willing to pay. 

Watch The ‘American Fiction’ Trailer

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