Synopsis

Troy Maxson makes his living as a sanitation worker in 1950s Pittsburgh. Maxson once dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player, but was deemed too old when the major leagues began admitting black athletes. Bitter over his missed opportunity, Troy creates further tension in his family when he squashes his son's chance to meet a college football recruiter.

Cast

Viola Davis
as Rose Maxson
Mykelti Williamson
as Gabriel Maxson
Saniyya Sidney
as Raynell Maxson
Russell Hornsby
as Lyons Maxson
Denzel Washington
as Troy Maxson
Jovan Adepo
as Cory Maxson

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by KingKongKyle 9 /10

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 Neil-15 N/A

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.'

Reviewed by freshclean-66-318608 7 /10

The Acting Alone Is What Made This Film What It Is.

I would give this film a good 7.5 out of 10 stars. I read some mixed reviews about this film and I'm on the side that says it's good, a bit long for what it was trying to deliver, but good. This film didn't need all of the thrills or heavy duty suspense to stay afloat. With brilliant and top notch actors like Denzel Washington and Viola Davis playing the leads their performances alone will make this film something worth seeing. Being that this film is from a stage play it's almost as if this were just a stage play done on a movie set, that's probably why it had so many bad reviews but I think the director (Denzel Washington) wanted it that way. This is purely a drama film delivered well by some of the most brilliant acting I have ever seen. I must admit, it does take a little while for the story to get good but it's well worth the wait. If you're into drama filled experiences with lots of symbolism and good acting I highly recommend this film.

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