“American Fiction” Aims at the Truth

Jeffrey Wright is my second favorite character in Asteroid City. That’s not a slam since the cast of Wes Anderson’s film is humongous (Hanks, Brody, Norton, Johansson, etc), I just happened to be in love with Jason Schwartzman. Wright is an acting dynamo who hasn’t gotten enough leading man roles. His most famous award thus far is an Emmy for Angels in America.

Having confessed that though, I love Wright’s gravelly serious man voice and his farcical military speeches in Asteroid City and was enraptured by his normal self-involved author role in American Fiction, written and directed by Cord Jefferson (based on a 2001 novel by Percival Everett).

American Fiction has been nominated for this year’s BAFTA for best adapted screenplay and for a DGA for first time director. Jefferson’s previous accolades include an Emmy for the tv show Watchmen.

So what of the film, American Fiction as a whole? Besides Wright’s performance, I did appreciate the complexity of sibling relationships, his siblings portrayed by Tracee Ellis-Ross (Golden Globe winner for Black-ish and who’s subtitle for me is always, ‘why the latent anger?’) and Sterling K. Brown (Golden Globe winner for This is Us). I also really liked the minor role performances by John Oritz (Jeffrey Wright’s agent) and his budding romantic pursuit played by Erika Alexander.
The screenplay is shaky in commitment though. Does it want to be family saga, romantic comedy or social satire? The film works best as satire, and gets dragged down by the other two elements. Still well worth seeing for it’s thought provoking anti-pandering take on literature and mass media.

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at irun2eatpizza@hotmail.com

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