Principal Cast: Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Rob Morgan, Tichina Arnold, Danny Glover
Director Joe Talbot’s debut feature is an ode to the city of San Francisco, rooted in the real-life experiences of his childhood best friend, Jimmie Fails. Though Fails is a non-actor, no one else could give a more genuine and heart- felt performance than he could – so Talbot cast him in the lead role.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco tells a story of the city through the eyes of a fictionalized version of Jimmie, who is obsessed by the idea of reclaiming the Victorian house in Fillmore that his grandfather built. This house is where he grew up and was the last real home he had before his family broke apart.
Jimmie spends most of his time hanging out with his best friend, aspiring playwright Montgomery (Jonathan Majors, Out of Blue, White Boy Rick), haunting the neighbour- hoods they knew as children and watching old black-and-white movies at the small house they share with Montgomery’s nearly-blind grandfather (Danny Glover, The Old Man and the Gun, The Color Purple).
Jimmie also visits and fixes up the house his grandfather built to keep it from falling into disrepair, much to the annoyance of its current owners. Unexpectedly, the house is one day left empty and an estate dispute ensues. Jimmie and Montgomery seize the opportunity to move in and live out a make-believe home life – but their dream can’t last forever.
This is a story about transformation, friendship, resilience, and what it means to belong to a community. And though the film is not directly about gentrification, that’s so much a part of the day-to-day reality of San Franciscans that the force of it can’t be ignored.