When it comes to movies, I will watch anything with Denzel Washington in it. We get two for one this time around with Denzel both performing in and directing Fences. The real treat here is the award winning screen play by the incomparable August Wilson.
These two really embodied their characters, unsurprisingly since practice makes perfect right?
This film is about a lower class family and the complexities of family relationships. Viola Davis opposite Washington, doubles the star power of this film. These two really embodied their characters, unsurprisingly since practice makes perfect right? Denzel and Viola have performed this play on stage together over a hundred times. Adapted from a stage production, the film maintains a lot of the intimacy provided by a small set, simple scene changes, and few cast members. However, the intimate stage almost wasn’t enough for me, it caused the film to feel borderline too simplistic.
Some very emotional scenes take place between Denzel’s character and his wife and son. The son only wants to impress his father, but struggles to build the relationship. The father is revered as a baseball legend in the Negro League who never crossed over and made it big. Now as a garbage man, he is jaded and cant support his son playing sports because of his own disappointing past. It seems the father holds too much resentment for his own past and career to open up and be happy. No matter how many flaws the father had, he was always respected and loved. One thing I wish I could have seen from the film was more about the son and his life outside the house.
The emotional performances by Davis and Washington landed them both Oscar nominations for best supporting actress and best actor.
Viola Davis’ character, Rose, seems to be the glue of the family, keeping the son and father together as the voice of reason. Her performance made the movie special. She loved her husband so much that she sacrificed everything, and continued to sacrifice until the end. The emotional performances by Davis and Washington landed them both Oscar nominations for best supporting actress and best actor. The film garnered two more nominations for best picture, and best adapted screenplay. Denzel had a decent performance, but without Viola this film would have been boring and hardly impactful. Denzel may have starred in and directed the film, but Viola Davis made the movie.
* SPOILERS *
Let’s talk about some of the more intense moments that occurred. For starters, the father and son fight. When that started to happen I could see how relatable of a moment that could be with young men everywhere. I’m not saying all guys want to fight their father but I know people who have been in similar altercations. The film kept tying in baseball references about the father, including the bat in that scene.
That was pretty intense, but not as much as the moment when Troy tells Rose about his cheating and that there’s a baby on the way. Then to top it off, that the mother died in child birth and now Rose has to be the mother! That was the film climax for me. Rose showed so much strength and courage in those moments, which is why I think she deserves the Oscar for best supporting actress.
What did you think of the film? Did you agree with my reaction? What did you think about their performances? Rate the movie with stars, and tell us what you think in the comments below.
Fences is a slow quiet family drama that I would suggest for anybody to watch. It's subtle, yet packs in lots of intensity with steady cinematography and a few interesting plot twists.