American Fiction Review – IGN

Review of American Fiction

This review was written as part of IGN’s coverage of the Best Picture nominees at the 96th Academy Awards. American Fiction is playing in theaters and available for purchase on VOD.

American Fiction is a must-watch film that captivates audiences with its satirical drama and exceptional performances, particularly by the talented Jeffrey Wright. Wright shines in his role as Thelonious “Monk” Ellison, a resilient novelist and college professor, bringing passion and subtlety to the character. His portrayal of Monk’s contempt for societal attitudes towards race is both bold and engaging, making his interactions with students, peers, and publishers a delight to watch.

American Fiction Gallery

American Fiction cleverly explores the consequences of commodifying art, showcasing Monk’s journey to sell his fake book with witty dialogue and satirical humor. What sets this film apart is its examination of storytelling from diverse viewpoints, even those considered controversial or lowbrow.

Monk’s character reflects the dichotomy of his personal life, where his actions are rooted in a deep message about the publishing industry. While his high standards are commendable, his inability to see beyond his own perspective highlights the film’s exploration of privilege and societal expectations.

In contrast to Monk’s rigid demeanor, his girlfriend Coraline, played excellently by Erika Alexander, offers a more balanced and compassionate perspective. Their dynamic, along with Monk’s interactions with his brother Cliff (Sterling K. Brown), add depth and emotion to the story.

American Fiction’s stellar cast, including John Ortiz, Tracee Ellis Ross, Leslie Uggams, Issa Rae, and Keith David, deliver memorable performances that complement Cord Jefferson’s brilliant direction. Jefferson expertly tackles themes of marginalization and nuanced storytelling, making American Fiction a standout film.

American Fiction is hilariously outlandish, exceedingly clever, and at times, truly heartwarming.