By Terri Lee Sylvester

DETROIT (WWJ) – If you’re planning to go see a movie this weekend, I suggest you go see Fruitvale Station. There’s good reason why this film won TWO awards at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival: the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Feature and the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic Film. And after getting a chance to view it, you’ll see what all the buzz is about, too.

Fruitvale Station is based on the true story of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old resident of the San Francisco Bay area, who was tragically shot and killed by BART officers just hours after celebrating his mother’s birthday.

The story begins with Oscar (Michael B. Jordan) waking up on December 31, 2008 and making a decision to turn his life around. A couple of things he decides to do include: being a better son to his mother, Wanda (Octavia Spencer); treating his girlfriend, Sophina (Melonie Diaz), better; and being a better father to his and Sophina’s four-year-old daughter, Tatiana (Ariana Neal).

As part of turning his life around, Oscar attempts to get his old job back at a local supermarket; a job he was fired from for repeatedly being late. As the day winds down, Oscar, Sophina and Tatiana join friends and family members for dinner in celebration of Wanda’s birthday.

While watching the film, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between Jordan and Grant, not the least of which is their appearance, something Screenwriter and Director Ryan Coogler says was important to him.

“I knew that the lead … would need to possess a great range and charisma,” Coogler said. “I also wanted someone who resembled Oscar. There are pictures of him everywhere in the Bay Area and on the Internet, and we needed someone with a great smile and eyes that could draw the viewer in, like Oscar’s.”

Coogler got his wish with Jordan, who is certainly deserving of all the Academy Award buzz that’s surrounded him since the movie’s debut. He’s at times “thuggish” when he portrays Oscar in prison and dealing drugs, but he’s also loving to his daughter and obedient to his mother.

While no mother wants to be put in the position that Oscar’s mother is in, Fruitvale Station winds up being a loving tribute to her son. It’s a film that’ll tug at your emotions, cause a theater full of teary eyes and a movie that won’t easily be forgotten.

Fruitvale Station is Rated R.

See you at the movies!

Follow Terri on Twitter @TerriJLee


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