The Last Black Man in San Francisco ★★★★½

Combining Spike Lee’s pointed observations and reflection with Terrence Malick’s poetic beauty, The Last Black Man In San Francisco is a beautiful, personal and hopeful fable about gentrification and identity.

A young black man keeps returning to his childhood home, believed to have been built by his great grandfather, to keep up on maintenance with despite the bemusement of the current residents. Reality plays very gentle within the film, with a sense of whimsy and quirk burrowed beneath the more dexterous material. It’s really served mostly by it’s superb central performances by Jimmie Fails and Jonathan Majors, and their characters relationship. The reflective tone of the film is shared through their gaze as their consciences weigh up the film’s themes greatly.

What the film manages to avoid thankfully, is a level of cynicism and anger within it’s criticisms. Whilst it is a film with a lot on it’s mind and a lot to say, The Last Black Man In San Francisco understands that theirs no resolve in latching onto the negative, instead finding solace within the people. San Francisco truly breaths and beats with life within this film, and the film shares such a love for the city it’s impossible not to be infectious. The final note of the film is one that shows that we are not the things we own, but the experiences we share, we are not so easily defined, we are not where we live or where we grew up, but the kindness we share and the hardships we carry.

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