Pssst, want to check out Fences in our new look?
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A constricting, emotional film about parenting and inter-generational trauma, controlling people, living your own life and lost hopes and dreams.
Denzel's direction keeps the film tightly wound as we feel trapped in the very world we find we want to escape. Any moment there's a scene outside the backyard, we feel we might be free of the vice, but then it always comes back.
There is so much to unpack in this film, and the dialogue is so crackling fast that it's hard to follow at times, but it's oddly visceral in its tension and the acting is out of this world. That said, the film does border on repetition and tedium at times.
4 stars out of 5
August Wilson's play Fences does not, as a screenplay, ever feel like anything other than a play. Its limited locations (the house and yard, very seldom does director Denzel Washington take us anywhere else) and almost exhaustingly talky script consistently remind you of the story's roots. Nevertheless, Fences is a layered work drawing a portrait of African-American reality in the post-war 40s, both general and specific to its complex characters, supported by strong performances from Washington and co-star Viola Davis. And despite the subject matter, it's also a universal story about inequity, bitter responsibility, father-son relationships, and more. The ambivalent protagonist, at once jocular and cruel, has been denied opportunity to often, he finds himself keeping his son from "swinging for the fences" as it were, but the play and film's message is ultimately one of hope for the minority's ambitions, arguably set far from pivotal moments in black history, but perhaps when these were first imagined. A bit too "artificial" to be truly effective emotionally, but there's a lot to unpack there.
The remarkable performancea and rich dialogues make this an unforgettable film.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!