By Richard Roeper

Chicago Sun-Times

“The Last Black Man in San Francisco”

121 minutes

R for language, nudity and drug use

A little black girl is in no particular hurry to get to school, because after all, everything about LIFE right in front of her is so interesting at this very moment. She looks up at a white man in a hazmat suit who is part of a team doing a cleanup in the bay. This is the opening note of “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”

The talented director/co-writer Joe Talbot’s “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” is a story of two cities, of the haves and have-nots, of people living in the same town but in different worlds.

On this corner, a group of young men who spend all day and night doing nothing, watching the world go by, trying to stay out of trouble except for the times when they go looking for trouble.

On that corner, exiting the $4 million Victorian “Painted Lady” house that was built in the 19th century, is a fussy couple who always seem to be on their way to a farmer’s market or coming home from an expensive meal.

“The Last Black Man in San Francisco” centers on two street-smart, book-smart, tough but also sensitive best friends, Jimmie (Jimmie Fails) and Montgomery (Jonathan Majors).

Sometimes, they go to work, and sometimes, they seem to have the day to themselves. They live with Montgomery’s blind grandfather (Danny Glover in a warm and sharp performance), who loves to sit with the guys while his grandson relates the visuals of old crime movies playing on the TV.

Montgomery is an aspiring playwright who draws beautiful sketches of the neighborhood and its characters and is always taking notes for possible dialogue. Jimmie is obsessed with reclaiming the house in San Francisco’s historic Fillmore District that was built by his grandfather some 70 years ago but is now occupied by a middle-aged couple who don’t appreciate the magnificence of this unique structure.

Jimmie is a dreamer, to the point of being borderline delusional about certain things. Montgomery goes along with Jimmie’s schemes until he no longer can. Jimmie Fails and Jonathan Majors are nothing short of great, each delivering powerful work, each hitting it out of the park in showcase scenes. Theirs is one of the most authentic and touching and powerful relationships of any kind in any film this year.

Some movies you can shake off by the time you exit the multiplex and you’re back to your life, thinking about the rest of your day or evening. This is not one of those movies.

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