The Last Black Man in San Francisco

audience Reviews

, 84% Audience Score
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    This movie was perfect from start to finish. The care taken in setting up every camera shot and the artfulness was awesome. A true gem.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    A slow burner to begin with, but very much succeeds in gradually grabbing your attention; culminating in gripping you entirely by the final few scenes. Unexpected in places, beautifully shot and leaves a thoughtful lasting impression.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    This film's not too bad. Joe Talbot's direction is quite unique to other classic 2010s-2020s indie films. The script is ALMOST there. So many aspects of the story's assembly and Jimmie Fails' arch were so close to being perfectly refined. The film is slow and a little hard to follow, but I think that's the point in some cases. Annoyingly, Jonathan Majors' performance is actually quite amazing. He shows us that he can actually inhabit the impressive nature of a true thespian instead of a soulless Marvel villain. But obviously, the best part of this film is it's cinematography. From its red-dominant coloring, to its low angles, constant slow-zooms, WONDERFUL wide-shot framing, the film's shots will have you in an ecstasy.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Really enjoyed this, an improvement from the last a24 film I saw. The shots and angles are breathtaking and the music might be one of the best I've heard from the 21st century. Strong performances from this film especially Jonathan majors in his forth movie appearance. Just a really relaxing film to watch, really made me emersed in the story and I just like how it did what it did so well. Overall an amazing transition from the short released two years before. I would really recommend it and goes to show that movies don't need actions, explosions etc. Grade: A
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    This movie is just too boring. Tried too hard to be weird and artsy. Some parts were kind of funny but overall just a very dry, boring movie.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Quietly brilliant, beautiful inside and out, infuriating, touching, and odd. This is my fourth time watching this and The Last Black Man in San Francisco gets better every time - the themes are simple (gentrification, classism, othering) but it goes deeper than that. Montgomery (Majors; scandal noted), the seemingly neurodivergent artist and best friend of protagonist Jimmy specifically enlightens the treasure that is buried beneath the surface of the film. Despite his oddities, he is the grounded realist of the plot. Jimmy lives within an idealized version of the city he once knew. Dripping warm colors and sun rays fill his dream family home he caretakes for uninvited and eventually ends up squatting in. His goal to recapture his childhood vision of the city, no matter how much of a lie it may be, consumes his being. Mont desperately tries to balance his friendship with him as well as pulling him into reality which culminates in one of the more powerful scenes in a movie I've ever seen that feels part intervention and part performance art. A reality that Jimmy and the people like him are systematically given a strict set of limitations. This movie pulls no punches. Jimmy saying to two white women complaining on the bus about hating the city that "you don't get to hate unless you love it" emphasizes much of the point of this whole thing. Anger is justified when it is earned. There ARE losers in this country that have had nothing to do with their own losses and the more people toot their horns about bootstraps and other bullshit without recognizing the position they've been granted to be able to think that, the further deluded our country becomes. This movie is empathic, effecting, and truly an all time great.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    A black man's moving quest to reclaim his grandfather's home in a gentrified San Francisco. Director Joe Talbot's indie drama The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) is beautifully shot, thoughtfully written, and gracefully acted in a truly unique picture. I'm grateful executive producer Brad Pitt got this sweet indie film made. Talbot's direction is lovely with a quiet grace to his gentle heroes. I'm impressed that this was his directorial debut. It's very thoughtful, mature, and surprisingly hilarious with his offbeat humor and pleasant whimsy for all the strange San Francisco locals his heroes encounter. The end is haunting and mature. The Last Black Man in San Francisco is one of the most visually gorgeous films I have ever seen. Cinematographer Adam Newport-Berra captures these stunning far wide shots of San Fran with smooth panning shots that lead into breathtaking medium shots. I found the striking camera framing and soft lighting enchanting. Editor David Marks carefully cuts at a methodical, but steady pace to keep the narrative moving. It did not feel like 121 minutes long, but an engaging picture where we're hanging out with the leads as their friendship holds true and they experience hardship and fun times together. Writers Joe Talbot, Jimmie Fails, and Rob Richert adapt Fails' fascinating real life story with a heartfelt consideration for the feelings of all involved. I was speechless by the end. Each encounter is either hilarious or devastating. The idea that Fails still cared about his grandfather's antique house and tried to fix it up in his memory and for his own sake with nothing else going for him is tragic. I'm grateful to Fails for him telling his story. Talbot, Fails, and Richert bring themes of gentrification of white people kicking out black and asian communities into poor slums to add monetary value to their new property is harrowing to hear. It hits home and saddens me to hear San Francisco is the same as Chicago where the city is essentially segregated by minorities and white people. The Last Black Man in San Francisco is about numerous concepts. There is a dialogue about racial dynamics between the wealthy white people and poorer black community as well as a discussion of toxic masculinity challenging the male ego versus our quiet and confident heroes who just try to maintain through all the heartaches and pain. I appreciate the loving, platonic friendship these two men share that's positive, supportive, and important to see represented on screen. Casting directors Nina Henninger and Julia Kim really got Jonathan Majors, who vibes peacefully with Jimmie Fails in as close to serene as a male friendship bond can become. Jimmie Fails bravely portrays himself as a frustrated and determined young man trying to reclaim his grandfather's house. His sentimental and just cause stirred emotion and empathy in him. I am amazed this was Fails' screen acting debut with his subtle performance of righteous indignation, desolate hopelessness, inner depression, caring friendship, innovative planning, steadfast perseverance, and peaceful resolution. Jimmie Fails should be cast in way more films after his powerful acting in The Last Black Man in San Francisco and Pieces of a Woman. Jonathan Majors is astounding as Fails' stalwart best friend and amateur playwright Montgomery "Mont" Allen. Majors lets Montgomery feel like a gentle giant, thoughtful writer, smart character study, observant watcher, and dear friend. His solo play performance towards the end is as versatile as entire actors' careers. Majors' quiet courage in defending himself and remaining confident when men belittle or insult him is astonishing. I love when he praises Kofi on the street corner when you think he would have lashed out like an ordinary man instead of the extraordinarily considerate gentleman that Montgomery Allen is at heart. I have now been floored by Jonathan Majors in The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Devotion, and Creed III. I look forward to seeing him win an Oscar one day. Danny Glover is funny and tender as Grandpa Allen with his old wisdom and supportive ways. It's nice to see Glover get to do a serious dramatic role again. Tichina Arnold really pleasantly surprised me with her dramatic turn as Jimmie Fails' Aunt Wanda Fails. Her funny and unconditional support of Jimmie is sweet. Her husband Uncle Ricky is fun as played by Daewon Song. Rob Morgan blew me away with his harsh criticisms and tough manner as Jimmie Fails' hardened father James Sr. Mike Epps is hysterical as the local car driving guy Bobby. All the guys from Chorus on the street insulting and testing one another are hilarious and touching from Isiain Lalime's Gunna, Jamal Trulove's Kofi, to Jordan Gomes' Jordan. Finn Wittrock is cruel and sleazy as the shyster realtor. Maximilienne Ewalt is very funny and infuriating as Mary, who owns the house in question without taking care to restore it. Jello Biafra is a riot in his cameo as the dismissive and arrogant Tour Guide. Willie Hen's passionate character The Preacher is moving, not just raving. I loved Thora Birch's Becca and Tonya Glanz' Nina in their complaining cameo on the bus. It feels significant that Jimmie Fails will still defend San Francisco as his beloved hometown, despite all his pains living there. Production designer Jona Tochet creates an impoverished and decrepit home for Mont with a cozy historical home for Fails' grandfather's house. Set decorators Eric Louie, Elena Nommensen, and Natalia Poltoratzky adorn the homes with tons of old wooden furniture, a cool organ, and wonderful detailed props. Olivia Kanz' beautiful art direction shows off fields, water, and streets with equal splendor. Composer Emile Mosseri's lovely gentle piano based film score has a haunting serenity to it. He breathes life and feeling into this mesmerizing music to make San Francisco sound like paradise. Sound designers Kent Sparling, Sage Bilderback, David C. Hughes, Luke Dunn Gielmuda, Chris Manning, Dmitri Makarov, and Brian R. Taylor let voices be heard clearly even when whispering. I liked the ambient noises in the city to even the distant gunshots in a pivotal scene. Costume designers Amanda Ramirez, Kristen McCullough, and Valerie Emmi provide dope contemporary clothes for every person with a unique statement, whether they are rough or gentle at heart. Make-up artists Josie Rodriguez, Antoinette Yoka, and Sarah Coy give naturalistic looks to each person that show off the characters' personalities nicely. I liked the different hairstyling work from Kimberly Carlson and Tara Marshell. Overall, The Last Black in San Francisco is mesmerizing with an adorable friendship, cute story, touching performances, powerful messages, enchanting score, and strong direction.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    A powerful and moving portrait of a beautiful friendship and the pain of letting go. The soundtrack beautifully accompanies the images and story. The two main performances are quirky and sweet. I hope to see more from this director.
  • Rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars
    As one of the prof. critics said, pretentious and full of itself....DNF.
  • Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    In this cinematic era of sequels, super heroes and remakes, it's fortunate that A24 continues to distribute and/or produce small budget films that would otherwise never see the light of day...or, more relevantly, the darkness of a cinema. Add The Last Black Man in San Francisco to the list, a seemingly simple movie about a young man who tries to lay claim to his abandoned childhood home in the gentrified Fillmore District of the city. In reality, it's about so much more. Almost poetic in its beauty, films like this are why people fall in love with the movies. First-time director Joe Talbot, first-time cinematographer Adam Newport-Berra and first-time actor Jimmy Fails are all hugely talented and have the potential to change the way we watch films in the future. And that's a relief.