By: Melvin Walls

Thelonious “Monk” Ellison, portrayed by (Jeffrey Wright), embodies the struggling author and artist in “American Fiction.” As a writer and professor, Monk finds himself grappling with the frustration of his latest literary endeavor, failing to resonate with publishers. His agent, Arthur, played by (John Ortiz), delivers the vital news that the industry demands “a Black book”. Asserting his Black identity, Monk insists on the authenticity of his own work, but the literary landscape’s narrow perception of Blackness infuriates him.

In a fit of defiance, Monk embarks on a new project titled “My Pafology,” in which he dives into themes of deadbeat dads, rap culture, drug addiction, and police violence. As he pours his frustrations onto the page, Monk grapples with the irony of the stereotypes he brings alive while he delivers a new writing style.

Cord Jefferson, known for his work on “Watchmen,” makes a debut with “American Fiction,” a film publishing the industry’s new love of Black narratives while delivering moments of genuine humor. Monk’s journey takes an unexpected turn when his sarcastic work gains unprecedented acclaim, thrusting him into the spotlight. However, trying to maintain the facade proves challenging as Monk struggles to embody the persona he’s unwittingly created. His interactions highlighted the absurd woke creation of racial expectations, from his attire to his speech.

His relationship with his sister Lisa, played with dry wit by (Tracee Ellis Ross), provides moments of humor and chaos. Meanwhile, Monk grapples with his responsibilities toward his ailing mother and troubled brother who was dealing with his sexuality; although the author seemed a little pushy with the whole LGBTQ+scripted agenda revealing his internal struggles with identity and obligation, I truly enjoyed the actor’s talent and artistry.

In conclusion “American Fiction” offers a compelling exploration of the intersection between art and identity. As Monk confronts the complexities of his own narrative, viewers are treated to a thought-provoking journey into the heart of storytelling, from a highly intellectual Black American reality to an urban Black American fictional perspective. Although subjectively with deeper thought; I was almost offended by the portrayal of how the entertainment and academia world perceives the intellect of the average African American, I soon realized that the title was again named “American fiction” so in an unbiased judgment review of this movie, I gave it a strong 8.9 out of 10, which I highly recommend sitting down with your family and friends that can tolerate a little humor and expletives.

 

3 thoughts on “The “Woke” Struggles of “Black Writers” Lessons from ‘American Fiction’ Film”
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