On a sabbatical from his teaching job, writer and professor Monk Ellison finds himself disgusted by literary works of his fellow Black Americans, believing they should aim higher in their pursuits. While dealing with family drama, Monk decided to showcase the hypocrisy of the literary community by writing the most blunt and stereotypical African-American piece of literature he can. But what will he do when the book is published and becomes an unexpected hit?
AMERICAN FICTION was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2023 for this moviegoer, beautifully combining comedic and dramatic elements and an Oscar-worthy performance from Jeffrey Wright, one of the most underrated yet talented actors out there. It’s one of those stories that must be seen to be believed, and I’m certainly glad I did.
AMERICAN FICTION shines brightest in its leading man, Jeffrey Wright. That this man doesn’t get talked more about in circles of great actors is criminal; the performance he gives here may be the brightest of his entire career so far, and that’s no small feat! The movie ranges from showing Monk deal with losing a family member and starting a new potential relationship while estranged from his fellow college professors during a sabbatical, to performing an outlandish literary stunt that reaches new heights of lunacy, resulting in some very funny moments that words don’t do justice to. There’s nothing Mr. Wright can’t do, and he shows it in every scene of the film.
AMERICAN FICTION is a movie tasked with a delicate balancing act. The movie tries to do far too many things in its nearly two-hour run time; there are no fewer than six subplots, and obviously not all of them can get the proper emphasis. While this does work against the film at times, I’m happy to report that the final product is quite pleasing, and people seeking the ideal comedy drama will laugh and encounter thought provoking material alike as they watch the film.
You have to see AMERICAN FICTION to believe it, and what a film it is! Jeffrey Wright rises above any negligible shortcomings the film has, and moviegoers will be in awe of its combination of comedy and drama, featuring some of the biggest laugh of any movie in 2023. Very highly recommended!