American Fiction


Comedy / Drama

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 94% · 249 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 95% · 1K ratings
IMDb Rating 7.6/10 10 26499 26.5K


Top cast

Keith David as Willy the Wonker
Sterling K. Brown as Clifford Ellison
Skyler Wright as Brittany
Adam Brody as Wiley Valdespino
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB 1080p.WEB.x265 2160p.WEB.x265
1.05 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 56 min
Seeds 100+
2.16 GB
English 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 56 min
Seeds 100+
1.95 GB
English 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 56 min
Seeds 100+
5.21 GB
English 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 56 min
Seeds 100+

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MrDHWong 10 / 10

One of the best written, most damning satires about racial stereotypes to hit movie screens in a very long time

"American Fiction" is a comedy drama film written and directed by Cord Jefferson, based on the novel "Erasure" by Percival Everett. Starring Jeffrey Wright in the lead role, it stands as one of the best written, most damning satires about racial stereotypes to hit movie screens in a very long time.

In Los Angeles, literature professor Thelonious "Monk" Ellison (Jeffrey Wright) is placed on mandatory leave by his university after frequently arguing with his students over differing opinions on racial issues. Wishing to spend this time off with his family, Monk travels to Boston to meet up with them and later decides to attend a literary seminar taking place nearby. Monk's Q&A panel receives very little attention due to most of the attendees choosing instead to watch an onstage interview with author Sintara Golden (Issa Rae), whose novel "We's Lives in Da Ghetto" has become a number one bestseller. Surprised at how much Sintara's book panders to African American stereotypes yet receives such glowing praise from readers, Monk decides to write his own novel in the exact same style, titling it "My Pafology" and loading it up with every cliche imaginable for a black writer. Under the pen name "Stagg R. Leigh", Monk sends his completed novel to various publishers out of spite and is soon shocked to discover that he is now being offered $750,000 and a movie deal for the rights to his story.

It can be difficult for creative people to compromise their vision for the sake of pandering to others. All too often, many writers, artists, performers, and other similar folk are at the mercy of company executives forcing them to make changes to their work as a result of wishing to keep up with the times. Of course, this can yield mixed results, as while the creators in question will likely profit greatly from their amended product, a major part of their true selves may have been severely altered in the process. This is especially the case with the current political climate, with many people being forcibly made to acquiesce to modern views on race, sexuality, and gender identity whether they agree with any of it or not. The film "American Fiction" is an excellent example of how it is possible to satirise the world's view on stereotypes without once resorting to sensationalism or condescension.

From the very opening scene, you can immediately tell what direction this movie is going to take with its satirical point of view. We watch as Monk, a well educated African American university scholar, has an argument with one of his white female students regarding the title of a book he is teaching the class. The book in question, whose title contains a racial slur, offends the young student with hair dyed neon green, prompting her to question why he isn't offended along with her. Monk tells the student that if he is capable of understanding the proper context of what is being taught, then she can as well, which he soon learns the hard way is not the case at all. The scathing yet humorous look at the way modern teachers have to deal with these types of students, especially from an African American perspective, is one of the many reasons this movie works as well as it does. This is because it allows the audience to see the hypocrisy of virtue signalling, which calls attention to the subconscious racism on display by the very ones who claim to be against it.

Later on when Monk writes his book, we watch as he dumbs down every element of his otherwise intelligent storytelling technique. Gone is his sophisticated writing style and in its place is the stereotypical African American street vernacular spoken by violent gun-wielding criminals as the main characters. Coming from a man with such a highly educated background, it becomes obvious to the viewer that it is a painful experience for Monk to compromise what could have been a clever in-depth story about two black friends, but he forcefully presses on to prove his point about pandering. To his surprise, Monk's experiment works a little too well, and he finds himself offered a large sum of money just for the publishing rights alone. On that note, perhaps the best way to describe this film is that it's like a combination of Mel Brooks's "The Producers" and Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman", as each involve some kind of deceptive plan that goes horribly right for the protagonist.

In addition to the sharply satirical humour woven throughout the story, the film also has its fair share of deeply emotional moments, primarily shown through members of Monk's immediate family. Although it is shown that Monk had a respectable upbringing, his family has still been subjected to various ups and downs that have essentially shaped him into the person he is today. For instance, his mother Agnes (Leslie Uggams) suffers from early stages of Alzheimer's disease, causing her to forget most of the great achievements he and his other siblings have accomplished throughout their lives. Because of this, Monk is forced into an ultimatum; move her into an expensive nursing home with his own money or let his siblings sort things out for a cheaper price.

Also, Monk's estranged brother Cliff (Sterling K. Brown) has been living a hedonistic lifestyle after divorcing his wife, frequently engaging in drug use and sexual encounters. We later see that Cliff, whose divorce was the result of him coming out as gay, is now at odds with Agnes due to her homophobic views on family values, putting a strain on his relationship with her. I was highly impressed with the way director Cord Jefferson was able to juggle all of Monk's family issues so smoothly while simultaneously keeping the core satirical elements at the forefront of the story. Most first time filmmakers would greatly falter in this department, but Jefferson strikes the perfect balance between darkly comical and touchingly dramatic without ever using cheap jokes or unearned sentimentality to get the point across.

In his best film performance to date, Jeffrey Wright does a fantastic job in the role of Monk. Several times throughout the film, we witness Monk react to all of the bizarre, sometimes frustrating things that end up happening to him, and Wright's facial expressions and body language certainly shine during these scenes. In the previously mentioned opening, it's easy to understand how irritated Monk must be at dealing with socially ignorant people like his offended student, and the repressed annoyance he shows is both funny and relatable just by the level of self control he has during this situation. I've always found Wright to be an underrated actor who has never become a household name despite starring in several on screen productions over the years, so it's nice to see him finally receive some mainstream acknowledgement for his work in this film.

Worth mentioning as well is Sterling K. Brown as Cliff, Monk's estranged homosexual younger brother. What I liked most about Cliff as a character is the way in which he acts as a reminder to Monk of the importance of staying true to himself. In one scene, which I won't discuss in too much detail due to spoilers, we see Cliff and Monk talking about the long term impact of doing things to appease others rather than yourself. This introspective chat about living life your own way is among the most emotionally affecting parts of the film, and Brown definitely holds his own alongside Wright during this particular moment. You are really given the sense that these two brothers now share a common ground, despite all of their past disagreements.

Taking into account its timely subject matter, Cord Jefferson's "American Fiction" stands triumphantly as one of the cleverest, funniest satirical films to be released in many years. It's so rare to see a brand new filmmaker get everything right on their first try while at the same time create something that has the potential to be a talking point for generations to come. Of course, Jefferson could not have accomplished any of this without the help of the film's cast, whom he has given them all great material to work with thanks to his excellent screenplay. With all that said, Jefferson has now established himself as a filmmaker to watch and I eagerly await any future projects he may have on the horizon.

I rate it a very high 9.5/10.

Reviewed by evanston_dad 8 / 10

One of the Best Premises of the Year

"American Fiction" has a great premise, one of the best in any movie this year. And I overall liked it and think it was well made, so I'm rounding my score up to reflect that. But it somehow didn't completely land for me, in a way that I find hard to explain.

I think it was the domestic drama part of the film that didn't completely work for me. The movie spends a lot of time on all the ways that Jeffrey Wright feels overwhelmed by his life's responsibilities, and it sags in some of these parts, and makes the movie feel a little bit like a slog. And I don't know that I ever completely believed the character played by Sterling K. Brown, who never seemed convincing as a gay man. But I did like what the film had to say about the burden placed on black people to constantly be representing black people everywhere that white people never have to deal with. And I also liked the choose your own adventure ending that takes the film into meta territory in its final scenes.

So, solid double for me, but not a home run.

Grade: A-

Reviewed by FeastMode 7 / 10

This is what great writing can do

For reference, I frequently enjoy dumb-fun, mindless movies and watch basically everything superhero-related. You know... the kinds of movies where the writing is rarely the draw. Then I watch something with great writing and feel metaphorical whiplash. The difference is drastic.

Witty dialogue, intriguing story and clever scenarios elevate everything. The cast all give fantastic performances, especially Jeffrey Wright. But for me personally, by far the best attribute is the comedy. I full-volume laughed throughout. And the humor feels entirely original.

My only dislike is a few subplots, like the love life of his brother or the maid, that don't seem to be related to the main plot. They feel out of place and detract from the main story. Otherwise, I found American Fiction to be highly entertaining.

(1 viewing, opening Thursday 1/4/2024)

Read more IMDb reviews


Be the first to leave a comment