Theolonious ‘Monk’ Ellison (Jeffrey Wright, Asteroid City) is a college professor and novelist of complex literature, who ardently believes in writing about authentic Black lives beyond tired and problematic stereotypes. But, when he is hit with the dual misfortunes of a family tragedy and the ailing health of his mother, Monk needs money, fast – and must compromise his artistic sensibilities as a result.
Noticing the tragically widespread appetite for sustaining stereotypes, and for Black stories which are palatable to a white audience, he assumes the pseudonym Stagg R. Leigh and writes a pandering book entitled ‘My Pafology’. Bewilderingly, he receives lucrative publishing offers, and falls down a rabbit hole of unlikely – and, more importantly, unwanted – success.
American Fiction is the real deal; the extraordinary Jeffrey Wright stars alongside a shimmering supporting cast, which includes Issa Rae (Barbie), Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) and Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us).
This whip-smart feature debut from seasoned television director Cord Jefferson is a hilarious, moving and wryly observed awards contender, masterfully deconstructing the outlandish divide between authenticity of experience and audience expectations in art, as well as offering a movingly grounded story of the strength of familial bonds in the face of life’s profound challenges.