Parents' Guide to

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Painful portrait of gentrification in extraordinary indie.

Movie R 2019 120 minutes
The Last Black Man in San Francisco Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Luminously beautiful and absolutely unforgettable, this tale of an ordinary man crushed by extraordinary pressures may be the best movie about San Francisco ever made. Immediately setting itself apart from lesser San Francisco-set movies (which tend to flash visuals of the Pacific and the Golden Gate Bridge before cutting to Los Angeles interiors), Last Black Man opens with a bravura tracking shot in which the two main characters gracefully share a skateboard together, gliding over hills and city streets from the depressed neighborhood they live in to the sparkling street where Jimmie's old family house sits. It's now occupied by a white woman who resents Jimmie dropping by to secretly tend the garden or touch up the paint on an outdoor windowsill. "What do you want, man?" she begs Jimmie, both nonplussed and infuriated by the intrusions. Jimmie's not exactly sure what he wants, but once he gets inside, all he knows is that he doesn't want to leave.

And yet viewers suspect that this probably won't end well for Jimmie. He's so poor that he wears the same shirt every day. And his family's former home, bedecked in stained glass and original wood that the camera lingers over as lovingly as if it were filming a sex scene, would cost multiple millions. He works at a hospice; his dad lives in a flophouse motel. In long, gorgeous shots, viewers empathize with the pain of Jimmie's dilemma, the agony written across Fails' expressive face. You can't help him. But oh, how you'll want to.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate