American Fiction Review

American Fiction
American Fiction
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“Erasure” is a book written in 2001 by Percival Everett. The first feature film of Cord Jefferson as a director, in some ways, can be considered something of an echo of Spike Lee’s scathing satire “Bamboozled”. Two films depict the story of how African American creators are tired enough and develop offensive and derogatory works, just to pass some messages to white executives. Both prove disastrous after underestimating the appeal that white audiences have for their stereotypes. So here we talk about American Fiction movie.

An English professor called Monk (Jeffrey Wright) who is also known as “Monk,” has his books referred to by his agent Arthur (John Ortiz) as being not “Black enough.” In response, he submits a manuscript for what initially appears to be named ‘My Pathology’ (the next one is more explicit). It’s a parody: a bunch of gangster and absent father tropes designed to say something about how blackness is exploited by the industry. Unfortunately, Monk finds this book hugely successful and with Arthur’s help he begins developing this lucrative farce.

Nevertheless, despite all these spikes it is balanced out with warm family scenes around Monk grieving after an abrupt tragedy. Although Jefferson’s visual style is tender and unobtrusive; however, his setting up of sight gags so visually smart it speaks volumes without needing words. Early on in the movie monk attends a reading where Issa Rae’s Sintara Golden reads from her own work which was just horribly clichéd. Looking at her work makes him upset because of how it simplifies black people’s experiences before a white woman starts clapping whilst standing in front of him which seems very simplistic but that sort of thing works a lot throughout the film. Its screenplay manages to keep complexity while avoiding sparsity or detachment.

This allows Wright’s portrayal of the perpetually cranky old man Monk to carry out the film smoothly. This happens due to instances such as the book reading mentioned above. Every slight frown he made was funny even though it also revealed how there is a quiet vulnerability that his family and loved ones have struggled to get access to. As Monk’s family unravels, however, the tone of the movie becomes much softer than its absurdist premise can be inferred.

Tracee Ellis Ross briefly makes an appealing on-screen partner for Wright as Monk’s sister, their easy banter having the feel of two people who have known each other forever; Sterling K. Brown is equally compelling as Monk’s brother seething with anger and joy at finally accepting his homosexuality. Through Monk’s relationships with others, this film shows us why American Fiction is what Monk wants to write –a multifaceted story that we need more of in films.

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