Christmas Time Movie Review: The Last Black Man in San Francisco

SPOILERS AHEAD!

I recently watched the film “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”. I recommend the film for a certain type of movie watcher. “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” would be enjoyed by a person that likes artistic films and films with a thought provoking message. This film touches on matters such as gentrification, environmental pollution, urban blight, the dissolution of the family unit, racism, the future of Black communities and mental illness. This film is heavy.

My rule is that any movie or book that makes me tear up gets a positive review. This movie stayed on my mind after it ended and it felt like a gut punch. I was rooting for the main character, Jimmie but he did not prevail. He couldn’t. The ending is very sad. I think it’s particularly sad if you’ve visited San Francisco and you’ve experienced the beauty of the city and seen the choppy waters of The Bay. However, the film is slow moving and a bit dull in spots.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco is about a young Black man named Jimmie from San Francisco. Jimmie has a goal of living in a house that was built by his grandfather in the 1940s. Jimmie seems to be essentially homeless. He lives with his friend Mont who lives with his grandfather who is played by Danny Glover.

Jimmie seems to be around thirty so he’s young but not an adolescent. I can’t tell what he does for a living if anything. He’s not married. His family is fractured. Jimmie’s father rents a room. His mother is a mystery and I’m guessing she’s homeless. His most stable family connection is his aunt that lives far outside of the city with her significant other who is a nice guy but gives the appearance of an Asian gang banger. The aunt is played by Tichina Arnold.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

He didn’t have much direction aside from the goal of moving into his grandfather’s house. His grandfather did not design or ever own the home. It was a fantasy or a blatant lie. Either way the story about the house being built by his grandfather was a coping mechanism in order for him to cope with his bleak reality.

Jimmie commits suicide at the end of this film. He may have been clinically depressed but he wasn’t different from the other younger men in the film. His friend Mont is the only man in the film who is employed. Mont works as a home health care aid.

If you enjoy watching films critically I recommend “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”. If you only enjoy feel good films with happy endings this movie isn’t for you. But I think the film is valuable and it could lead to discussions on the various topics that it touches.

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