3/10/2024 - Entertainment and Well-being

The dramatic comedy that seeks to surprise at the Oscars.

By Jerónimo Alonso

The dramatic comedy that seeks to surprise at the Oscars.

American Fiction is one of the revelations of the year in the world of cinema. The film directed by Cord Jefferson, who made his directorial debut, was released late last year and surprised audiences. Based on "Erasure," a novel published by Percival Everett in 2001, the story follows Thelonious "Monk" Ellison (played by Jeffrey Wright), an African-American writer with little success in the literary market.

Ellison is not accepted by publishers as his writings are "un-African American" and he is opposed to writing that type of genre because he feels it does not represent African-Americans, but rather hurts them and is intended for "guilty whites." However, the straw that breaks the camel's back is the great success of his colleague Sintara Golden (Isa Rae) with a rather cliché text. Faced with this, "Monk", under a pseudonym and in complicity with his agent Arthur (John Ortiz), decides to write a novel ironically and fills it with the stereotypes that the industry celebrates so much to the African-American community. The joke of our protagonist gets out of hand because it is a resounding success throughout the country and ends up displacing Sintara's book in the best sellers.

On the other hand, "Monk" is forced to take a vacation by the institute where he works. He decides to leave Los Angeles and, after his sister Lisa (Tracee Ross) has a heart attack, he returns to his hometown where he has to balance his recent professional success with his personal life. There he reunites with his brother Clifford (Sterling Brown) and meets Coraline (Erika Alexander), his mother's neighbor with whom he begins a relationship.

Cord Jefferson does a great job of contrasting the comedy in which Thelonious' professional life unfolds as his book climbs to fame unthinkable to him and his agent with the drama in which "Monk" unfolds his life. Behind Stagg R. Leigh, the pseudonym he uses for the novel, is Thelonious Ellison, a moody, sarcastic, sharp-tongued and somewhat haughty man. The protagonist's life takes a 180° turn: his brother left his wife and no longer speaks to his mother since he confessed to her that he was homosexual, his mother suffers from Alzheimer's and hospitalization will cost him a lot of money, money that he will be able to recover if he gives himself to the literary market, and Coraline, brings out his romantic side.

As it surprised the public, it also surprised the members of the Academy. The film is nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Jeffrey Wright), Best Supporting Actor (Sterling Brown), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Score.

American Fiction invites us to reflect on our preconceptions through comedy. The great script and stellar performances enhance this dramatic comedy that vindicates all the "Monks" of the world who refuse to be pigeonholed. It may not win the Oscars on a night when "Oppenheimer" will sweep the board, but Cord Jefferson and his team have done everything they can to win Hollywood's most coveted statuette.

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Jerónimo Alonso

Jerónimo Alonso

My name is Jerónimo and I am 20 years old. I am currently in my third year of my Communication Sciences degree at the University of Buenos Aires.

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