Movie Review: American Fiction

Estimated read time 3 min read

As soon as I saw the trailer for this movie, I knew it deserved to be on my watch list. If you have not seen the trailer, let me give you a brief overview of what American Fiction is about.

Plot

Monk is an African-American author whose books, while good enough to earn him a place as writer-in-residence at a university, are not making enough sales and are not ‘commercial’ enough.

In a bid to prove the absurdity of stereotypical ‘black’ stories meant to cater to white audiences, Monk decides to write a novel as a joke. What follows is an examination of the result of his actions. The movie also shows Monk dealing with family issues.

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Why Should You Watch American Fiction?

If you are a book lover like me, the premise of this movie might interest you.

What makes a novel good? Is it the way it is written – the skill of the writer? Or is it the story – the setting, the characters? Does an author have to tell stories relevant to their culture or experiences?

I am a thinker, and this movie explores all of that and more. In one of the scenes, Monk goes into a bookstore and is affronted when he sees his books shelved among ‘African-American Studies’ because he does not feel his books fall under that category despite being black.

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It makes you wonder about the everlasting disagreement between readers and authors about whether their books fall into a certain category (psst, I’m talking about African Literature).

If you don’t care about any of that, here’s another reason to watch American Fiction: It is funny. It feels like a parody, and you are guaranteed a couple of laughs throughout the almost two-hour runtime.

Anything Else You Should Know?

As I already stated, American Fiction runs for almost two hours, which can seem like a lot when you are just looking for a movie to watch before you go to bed.

The movie seems to follow two threads: the comedy surrounding Monk’s book and the sober drama surrounding Monk’s family life. I found the latter to be a bit of a drag sometimes, but it adds up to some character development that pays off and gives the movie a satisfactory ending.

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One of the characters is gay, but there’s no nudity – the most you’ll see is a kiss.

Finally, American Fiction is based on a novel titled Erasure by Percival Everett. I haven’t read it, but if you are the type that prefers reading the book first, now you know.

This movie lived up to my expectations: dramatic, funny, and thought-provoking. You can stream it on Prime Video.

Nyerhovwo

Meet Nyerhovwo, an avid reader and aspiring polygot. Nyerhovwo spends most of his time reading. He enjoys exploring all genres of fiction except for romance, and is particularly fond of Stephen King and literary fiction. Nyerhovwo is also learning French and loves watching thought-provoking dramas, anime and Korean films.

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