Fences

(2016)

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Title:
Fences
Release Date:
16th December 2016
Runtime:
138 min
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Genres:
Directors:
Denzel Washington
Writers:
August Wilson
Languages:
English
Stream Quality:
1080p / 720p / 480p

Storyline

An African-American father struggles with race relations in the United States while trying to raise his family in the 1950s and coming to terms with the events of his life.

Ratings

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 94%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 79%
IMDb Rating 8.0

Casts

Denzel Washington as Troy Maxson
Jovan Adepo as Cory
Stephen Henderson as Jim Bono
Viola Davis as Rose Maxson

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by themoviemix 25th December, 2016

Fences Is 2016's Most Well-Acted Film

"Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in." The first thing movie-goers should understand about Fences is that it is very much a filmed play. An adaption of August Wilson's Tony- winning play, director Denzel Washington has kept the project as minimalist as possible. There's good reason for this. Wilson's words are exciting enough that there is just no need for big action, large sets nor grandiose cinematography. Fences is a small, intimate story about Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) and his close-knit circle of family and friends. This small cast of characters is used to speak volumes about how far the Black community had come in overcoming prejudices by the 50s-era the story takes place in, but how far they still had to go. It talks about the roles of husbands, wives and children; the sacrifices we all make to support each other, often giving up our own dreams but never losing sight of them. Much has been said of the performances here, and with good reason. They're terrific. Viola Davis will get her Oscar this year, there's little doubt in my mind. Her Rose Maxson is so reserved and subtle for much of the film, allowing Troy's continual imperfections and abuses to store inside her and chip away at her emotionally until the final straw causes her to erupt near the final act of the movie. It's an emotional and painful performance to observe, and one many, particularly long-time wives and mothers, will find easy to relate to but at times difficult to watch. As for Washington, I find it difficult to understand why he isn't the front-runner for Best Actor this year. I've seen front-runner Casey Affleck's performance in Manchester By The Sea and it is excellent and look forward to Ryan Gosling's turn in La La Land; but what Washington does in Fences is special. Simpy put, it's one of the best performances I've ever seen an actor give. Troy is a very imperfect man to say the least. He's not necessarily a "bad guy", in fact most men will be able to see a little of themselves in Troy. He's a likable personality who does some despicable things. HIs tough love approach to raising his son seems more out of spite than love. And while there can be no doubt that he loves Rose, his behavior proves that love and respect are not the same thing. Washington crawls into this raw and complex character, becoming Troy to the extent that no matter how big a star Washington is, you forget you're watching an actor. The supporting cast fairs well, particularly Stephen Henderson as Troy's friend and work-mate Bono, Jovan Adepo as his son Cory and Mykelti Williamson as his mentally-challenged brother Gabriel. Everyone seems to be working their hardest to do Wilson's words justice, and their efforts result it what may be the most overall well-acted film of the year. Fences won't appeal to everyone. Those looking for action and extravaganza, this is not your movie. But if you're like me and enjoy watching good actors perform a well-written script, then you'll be enthralled by every minute of Fences.

Reviewed by dana drigo 18th December, 2016

Fences: Denzel's New Movie Premiering Christmas Day (2016)

Saw an advanced screening of #FencesMovie tonight with the Minnie. I knew just by looking at the cast that this was going to be a new classic. Troy's (played by Denzel Washington) larger than life personality will make you laugh, cry, and everything in between. The film is truly heart-warming and very appropriate for the entire family. Full of morals, lessons, and life's hidden nuggets of gold, #FencesMovie will tug at your heart and make you appreciate your own family: the good, the bad, and the ugly. After all, our family, or lack thereof, is what helps us build character! LaDana Drigo

Reviewed by Amari-Sali 16th December, 2016

Fences seems barely changed from its theatrical production. The only difference maybe being a set instead of a stage.

Review (with Spoilers) Noted Actor(s) Troy (Denzel Washington) | Rose (Viola Davis) | Gabriel (Mykelti Williamson) | Mr. Bono (Stephen Henderson) |Lyons (Russel Hornsby) Storyline When a boy is forced to become a man at 14, his life is basically trial and error. Such is the case with Troy Maxson. This boy, one of eleven, left home ventured out and only found trouble. Made a baby in the process, found a woman after he paid his debt to society, and then was on the straight and narrow. However, men get old. Women get old too. There comes a point where find yourself looking around at all you have, all you have obtained through purchase or loyalty, and ask is it enough? Is it enough to have a wife and two healthy boys? Is it enough to have a husband, a good relationship with your stepson and a healthy one with your own? Is it enough to have a girl who sticks by you and a dad who, after giving you some lip, will loan you money. Is it enough to have both parents in the house if one seems to treat you like an obligation when it comes to caring for you? We are told fences are made to keep things, or people, in or out. But it may just be possibilities too we are trying to keep at bay. Things To Note Though initially upset by the idea of Viola Davis not going for the Best Actress nominations, with her role basically being part of softening and redeeming Troy, it makes sense for her to go for Best Supporting Actress. Even if she is the only woman we ever see. Highlights It's a Lean Production Though over two hours, with things mostly focused just on Troy and Rose, featuring some comic relief from Gabriel and Mr. Bono, this is a tight production. In fact, based off not having the privilege of seeing the play when Davis and Washington were in it, you could argue this is almost as direct of an adaptation you could get. There is no extra fluff, some spare characters whose place don't seem like they were in the original blueprints. Everything which needs to be a part of this story to tell it right, it's here, well oiled, and in working order. Mr. Washington and Ms. Davis With that said, let's talk about the two main characters. Now, prepare for theatrical dramatic/comedic monologues a lot. Nearly half the time Washington speaks it isn't to have a conversation but to express the inner workings of Troy. Why Troy acts the way he does, why he did this stupid thing, him explaining why he wasn't in his oldest son's Lyons' life. In many ways, his role seems like it is straight from the stage, nothing changed but now he doesn't have to turn to the audience but just look in the camera. But, as much as he may get dramatic and bring tears to your eyes, maybe even think of the relationship you have with your own father if it isn't some ideal sitcom type, he is funny too. Though there ain't a review for it here, it reminds me of watching Joe Morton in Let Me Loose. For every sob story, there is a joke somewhere in between. Reminding you things have gotten somewhat better since then so no need for your pity. While things may still look hard, and certainly Troy may not have a white man's privilege, at least he isn't out on the streets homeless and alone. As for Davis, oh boy. I question sometimes when actors talk about being intimidated by the presence of another. Could it be that serious? Yet, as Davis performs against Washington, you begin to understand an actor's fear. Hell, a writer's fear of doing this woman justice. For while I can't recall a single role when Davis wasn't playing someone who is suffering, that is her bread and butter. So, with that, seeing her go against Denzel and really make it seem she has him on the ropes. The man who this play is centered around, it was something. She made you tremble as that one snippet about how Rose has been standing there with Troy gets expanded. As you come to terms with your own standing in life. What compromises you make for certain relationships to continue and how there has to be a point where you got to wonder if it is a compromise or have you given yourself over and only gotten the other person's burdens in return. Burdens you have no idea what to do with besides try to untangle only to find the other person makes knots after you thought you were done. The Peace of Being Simple A small thing I think worth noting is Gabriel. Like Rose, she is what helps humanize and shape Troy. But, separate from Troy, it is also nice to see a character like Gabriel who maybe simple, but he is not stupid. For while, at times, he seems like a comic relief, it is through him we get some of the most touching moments. Especially the ending. Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing) A film which makes you think, reflect, and feel. I don't feel like I watch enough of those. So when films like this come along, it is like cleaning your palate. It is like, being reminded of what a quality drama can be, and how from the old to the young, it isn't unfair to expect every character to make an effort to not just connect with you but to make you feel something. Now, I might not have cried like I thought I would, but damn if this doesn't put some perspective on your life, maybe your daddy's life, and make you contemplate on your way home what you going to do about your life.

Reviewed by peter-stead-740-486963 14th December, 2016

The power of the film builds

This film is a great example of how exceptional writing can rivet an audience. It's based on a play I understand. For anyone as unfamiliar as myself, the easiest way to describe it is as being very reminiscent of Death Of A Salesman. It follows in that long line of stories about Patriarchs crushed under the weight of their own psychological implosion, King Lear, the Old Testament's Nebuchadnezzar and so on. The quality of the writing is such that, by focussing on the psychology of one man and his own life, and its impact on his family, it makes you think about your own life and certainly your relationship with your father. It's called Fences, I interpreted this as the psychological fences people erect to protect themselves, fences which tragically keep those closest to you out. There was a little unevenness, the beginning seemed on the long side, but when the story steps up a gear, it seemed a little underdeveloped. But this is really a small issue. The writing pulls you in masterfully and exceptional actors work their magic with it. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis deliver master classes in power and nuance. I'm surprised that the IMDb description has it as being concerned with race relations. As far as I could see it had little to do with it and was instead concerned with the emotional faultlines of a family in a totally universally relateable way. Really worth it, go see it.

Reviewed by Neil-15 8th December, 2016

Performances outshine 'stage bound' script

First let me say that this is a powerful, engaging film. Seemingly, however stereotypical, the opening of this movie feels like a stage play exposition. Although moving forward I found myself increasingly involved in the life of, to me, a thoroughly selfish, almost despicable, protagonist. Denzel Washington inhabits his role as one would fit into a perfectly tailored suit. The depth of his character fits him like a glove. The dislike of his "Troy' is palpable. It is Viola Davis' performance that gives us any acceptance, and even a modicum of empathy, for his unrelenting dis- likability. Her 'Rose' is a tour-de-force and one of the most honest performances ever put on film. I personally see it as less a film about a man coming to grips with prejudice than as a damaged child trying to make sense of a world over which he was unable to reconcile his life. In the greater scheme of things, yes, he had a menial job, but he did have a job. He has a family that he treats as possessions rather than people. When his son accuses him of not wanting him to surpass his father in life, there is a validity to the claim. The direction, cinematography, music and period feel, with the exception of an uneven opening, proves Washington a masterful film maker. The difficulty in adapting a stage play to the screen is almost overcome with only a few scenes playing like a filmed stage set. If it were up to me both Denzel and Viola would receive the top 'Best' academy awards with Denzel also receiving a nomination for best director. Unfortunately the stiffness of the script, in my opinion, should keep it from a best film nomination (although it will probably get one). As a side note, it seems silly for Viola Davis to be entered into the competitions in a supporting category. She is the strength of the movie and in too many scenes to even be considered 'supporting.'