The Last Black Man in San Francisco
2019 | Drama | 120 minutes | English
The film is about Jimmie Fails, a young man living in the Bayview-Hunters Point section of San Francisco. He spends his time skateboarding around town with best friend Montgomery “Mont” Allen, and living with Mont’s grandfather. The two also spend time sitting at the bus stop where they sadly observe the gentrification of the neighborhood. The two then skate to the Fillmore District where Jimmie grew up in a Victorian house built by his grandfather. They find that the people living in the house are moving out. Jimmie and Mont decide to move in. Jimmie’s Aunt Wanda provides them with interior furnishings and decorations that they had when they lived there. They arrive at the house one day, see all their belongings on the street, and a realtor’s sign upfront. Mont checks this out with the realtor and is informed that Jimmie’s grandfather never owned the house . Mont informs Jimmie, who becomes ballistic and storms out of the room. One morning Mont finds that Jimmie is gone. Jimmie left a note thanking Mont for being a great friend. Mont heads for the dock and watches Jimmie rowing away under the Golden Gate Bridge.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 93%
- Metacritic Score: 83
Sundance Film Festival: Winner, U.S. Dramatic Directing Award (Joe Talbot); Special Jury Prize for Creative Collaboration
Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards: Nominated, Outstanding Directing- First-Time Feature Film (Joe Talbot)
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The film above all is a symbol of Jimmie’s hopes for the future. He dreams of being somehow able to own it. The dream is built on hope—and the hope is so strong it shapes and distorts his perception of his family’s history. Believing something to be best, he learns, doesn’t necessarily make it so, no matter how strong the desire to believe. The acting of the two principals is impeccable, their portrait of male friendship is deeply felt.
In THE LAST BLACK MAN in SAN FRANCISCO the desire for home is at once existential and literal, a matter of self and safety, being and belonging. Much depends on Jimmie, who waxes and wanes, sometimes rises and then falls in a city that—with this ravishing movie—he insistently stakes a claim on, one indelible image at a time.
Jimmie’s story is a slow ballad, a tragic ode, a dirty limerick, a wistful lament and a heartbreaking elegy. It’s a tribute to the notion of home that we all carry. This is one of the year’s best films.
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