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“American Fiction” Review


In Cord Jefferson’s directorial debut, “American Fiction,” the tricky issues of race, representation and personal integrity are smartly exposed in a sharp and witty satire that does not shy away from asking uncomfortable questions. Supported by impressive acting from Jeffrey Wright as irascible author Thelonious “Monk” Ellison, the film aptly combines the cutthroat culture of publishing with equally delicately drawn family dynamics.

At its essence, “American Fiction” is an intelligent inquiry into the constraints imposed on black artists who are expected to follow clichéd societal beliefs. As a disillusioned academic and accidental bestselling author, Monk serves as the perfect conduit for Jefferson’s commentary on the commodification of black trauma as well as the stereotypes black artists face in literary work.

The film moves between a farcical yet moving depiction of Monk’s family that lives in the character’s soul, characterized by Leslie Uggams, Tracee Ellis Ross and Sterling K. Brown among others. In these scenes, the audience discovers that this is only the superficial exterior of a character having many more complex layers hidden behind his attitude.

The ending comes off as quite direct during which Jefferson delivers a speech. Despite that, the excellent direction of the production makes this movie worth watching from start to finish. “American Fiction” will be recognized as a fascinating and mind-subsiding piece of art that will amuse you while being self-aware at the same time. The audience encounters a film writer who is bold enough not to be a conformist and to take complicated themes by turning them into intelligent and funny works. As Monk might say, it’s a work that demands to be read between the lines.

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About the Contributor
Mahir Soofi
Mahir Soofi, Sports Editor
Mahir Soofi is a senior at CHS who split enrolls at Huron. This is his first year as Sports Editor and third semester in Journalism. When he's not working, you can find him playing tennis on the Ann Arbor Huron varsity team, watching sports, hanging out with friends, playing piano, and listening to music. Mahir is excited to start his senior year writing for the Communicator.

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