I had heard universally good things about this movie, and while it was excellent, most of the things I had read didn’t explain how small it is. It’s a very small movie. It’s about one man, on one day. It’s true that a lot can be taken away from Oscar Grant’s death at the hands of the police, this is a part of a much larger issue. But the movie itself isn’t about an epidemic, it is about one man, and his family, and his death.
It’s a small movie full of great performances. Michael B. Jordan feels effortless. He’s so casual, seems settled and three dimensional. Octavia Spencer has this sort of command, everyone listens to her, without her being bossy or loud. She radiates authority and calm from her huge expressive eyes. Melonie Diaz had this really perfect balance between control and jittery nerves, especially at the end. The affection and history between her character and Michael B. Jordan is clear and believable. Their performances, especially at the beginning of the film, create such a solid foundation for everything that follows.
Go watch this movie, not just because it’s about an incredibly important political issue, but because it’s a sweet sad small story. It’s a tragedy, the death of one man on one day, which is a part of a much larger national tragedy that’s still going on.