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KPCW sends its most discerning moviegoers to the movies each week to let you know which films are worth going to and which are a pass. The Friday Film Review airs at 7:20 a.m., during the Noon News and in The Local View. KPCW Friday Film Reviewers are: Barb Bretz, Rick Brough, Mark Harrington and Linda Jager.

Friday Film Review | 'American Fiction'

The Academy Awards air on Sunday and one contender “American Fiction” is in the running for five Oscars.

Based on Percival Everett's 2001 novel "Erasure," "American Fiction" is a comedy/drama from first-time director Cord Jefferson that explores the intersection of race and the publishing industry.

Jeffrey Wright delivers an outstanding performance as Thelonius "Monk" Ellison, a literature professor and accomplished novelist who is disenchanted with the publishing industry's narrow-minded expectations of African American authors. Despite producing multiple works, none of his books receive the recognition they deserve from readers.

One day, Monk sees an up-and-coming colleague, Sinatra Golden (played by Issa Rae), receive critical and commercial success for her novel "We's Lives In Da Ghetto." That's when Monk reaches a boiling point.

Angry and frustrated, he writes a similar story under a pseudonym, intending it to be a joke. However, the joke becomes an instant bestseller, earning him a huge publishing contract, numerous accolades, and a seven-figure movie deal.

In the film, Monk also journeys back to his roots in Boston while on an involuntary leave of absence from his teaching job at a prestigious university. Back home, he reconnects with his sister Lisa (played by Tracee Ellis Ross) and his elderly mother Agnes (played by Leslie Uggams).

The film hints at his family's current and past tragedy, including his estrangement from his brother Cliff (played by Sterling K. Brown) and the onset of his mother's dementia.

However, Monk finds a romantic connection with Coraline (played by Erika Alexander), a lawyer who spends weekends and summers near his family's coastal vacation home and is a fan of his novels.

The film's many subplots are cleverly woven, and its commentary on race and literature is poignant and sometimes humorous.

Now streaming on Amazon Prime and Apple TV, "American Fiction" has a runtime of one hour and 57 minutes and is rated R for sexual references, language, brief violence, and some drug use.

The film has been nominated for five Academy Awards on Sunday, including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role for Wright, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Sterling K. Brown, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score.

A strong Oscar contender, "American Fiction" is a film worth watching.

One of KPCW's Friday Film Review, reviewers.