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.
Release Date: December 25, 2016
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Grade: A Rating: PG-13, 133 minutes In a Nutshell: The Pulitzer-winning source material has already earned some awards for literature, on Broadway and now on the Big Screen. The book, stage play, and film are all a powerful look at life in the 50’s for African-Americans, as well as the emotional and physical Fences surrounding one family in particular. Uplifting theme: Family, hard work, love, sacrifice, marriage, forgiveness, respect, duty “Some people build fences to keep people out and some people build fences to keep people in.” – Bono (Stephen Henderson) “You are responsible for what you do.” - Bono Things I liked: Denzel Washington is truly amazing. Wow, how many lines did he have to memorize? Holy moly! Super impressive. He needs to start preparing his Oscar acceptance speech right now. He also directed the film. Well done, Denzel. Well done. If you could see me right now, you'd see me give you a standing ovation. Viola Davis gives a very strong performance next to Denzel, quite possibly an Oscar performance. Troy's speech about death in the beginning was hilarious. I love how Rose shows her love by immediately offering everyone food the second they walk in her door. Mykelti Williamson is excellent as Gabriel. His trumpet playing at the end was awesome, although a bit cheesy. As he said, "That's the way that go." The brilliant script has so much flavor that you can almost taste it. The story gets thicker and thicker as the movie goes on. I'm sure we'll see a lot more work from Jovan Adepo, who really peaks at the end of the movie as Cory. Things I didn’t like: Audiences unfamiliar with the 1983 August Wilson play need to know that this is not a big action movie. It’s a “talking” movie with incredible character development. This is a long, heart-wrenching movie that will leave you feeling exhausted. Interesting lines: “There ain’t never been no time called too early.” – Troy (Denzel Washington) “Ya gotta take the crookeds with the straights.” - Troy “I didn’t know what I was gonna do, but I knew the time had come to leave my daddy’s house. Suddenly, the world got big.” – Troy “It’s not easy for me to admit I’ve been standing in the same place for 18 years.” - Troy "I told ya, a watched pot never boils." - Rose "Disrespecting your daddy ain't gonna make you a man, Cory." - Rose Funny lines: About the lottery: “Troy, you know I don’t play foolishly. I just play a nickel here and a nickel there.” – Rose “That’s two nickels you done throw away.” - Troy Tips for parents: There are a lot of racist terms like the “N” word, “colored”, “white man”, “crackers”. Some profanity. This is not a "feel good" movie for children. There are adult themes with drinking, adultery, crime.January 5th, 2017 · Details
Based on a play by August Wilson, the production never quite loses its stagy feel, likely because most of the scenes take place in one location. Denzel Washington does double duty as actor and director, which perhaps explains why wears his character like a suit that doesn’t quite fit. Viola Davis, on the other hand, is exceptional as the mother who personifies the posts and rails that hold the family fence together. While this dysfunctional family drama is more depressing than inspiring, it is certain to impress at least one strong warning on those who view the film: Once you have built a barrier it is hard to tear it down, so be careful when choosing which things to encircle and which things to close out.Click here to read the full review
Suffering is a leitmotif in any of August Wilson's plays, but there's also brutal honesty and joy in unexpected moments -- as well as the musical cadence of his language to enjoy. That's what enlivens "Fences" (Paramount), the film adaptation of Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning work from 1983. Moral decisions, and the consequences of immoral ones, lurk at every turn in the plot as well.Click here to read the full review
Not an easy film to watch, but absolutely worth it. Both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis give Oscar-worthy performances as a couple who struggle with lost dreams, bad decisions, and the limitations—and possibilities—of mid-20th-century American life. A powerful, emotional story.Click here to read the full reviewDecember 23rd, 2016 · Details
Wilson’s own screenplay wisely avoids the usual impulse to “open up” a play by adding locations and reducing the dialogue. The best known of Wilson’s ten-play “Pittsburgh cycle,” one for each decade of the 20th century, “Fences” is a story of epic scope and mythic resonance. The gorgeous dialog makes poetry out of the kind of talk we hear around us all day: the jokes, mock insults, and bragging of co-workers and long-time friends, the intimate humor of a longtime couple, anguished confrontation, bitter recollection, back-and-forth that skims the surface while the emotions roil and explode below. To the extent that it preserves the artificiality of a theatrical performance, it emphasizes its ambitious reach. If a play has a character named Gabriel (Mykelti Williamson) who is cognitively impaired following a war injury, who carries a trumpet, and who constantly reminds his brother of a betrayal and survivor guilt, if the tile “Fences” is literal and metaphorical and the character building the fence talks about keeping out the actual angel of death, the audience must recognize these signals of serious, profound, dramatic engagement with eternal themes and be grateful for the chance to be a part of it.Click here to read the full reviewDecember 22nd, 2016 · Details