I saw this movie on New Year's Eve with some friends. Three out of four of us liked it. I was one of the three.
Fences is the story of a 50 something black man in the early 1950's. A flawed, angry, bitter man trying to make it as a garbage man. The job allows him to barely own a home and support his family. Once a star ballplayer in the Negro Leagues, his color, age and some prison time kept him from the Major Leagues. The movie chronicles his relationships with his family and the demons of his past.
The cast is fantastic. Not a weak performance in the bunch. Denzel Washington plays Troy Maxson, the lead. Viola Davis plays his wife Rose. Jovan Adepo plays Corey Maxson, Troy's teenage son with Rose. Russell Hornsby is Lyons Maxson, Troy's 30 something year old son from his first failed marriage. Mykelti Williamson (Bubba Blue from Forrest Gump) plays Gabriel Maxson, Troy's mentally disabled WWII veteran brother. Stephen Henderson depicts Jim Bono, Troy's best friend. Denzel also directs. There should be some Oscar nominations.
This is a character driven movie that takes place almost entirely in the house and yard of Troy and Rose. There are no guns or car chases although there are a couple of scenes of a slow moving garbage truck. There is a lot of dialogue and raw emotion. Denzel talks and talks. He is a hardass parent who suffers the scars from his hardass father and racial discrimination. He will not or can not change his views and attitudes, ultimately pushing away all in his life.
I won't give away all the trials and tribulations that Troy and his family endure. For those of us old enough to remember the days of segregation, the story seems right. Before condemning any of the characters, remember, the story takes place 60 years ago in a still mostly segregated country.
This is a long movie, 2:27, so prepare accordingly. It is rated PG-13 for some language. Most of that language is the infamous N-word by Troy. The film drags a little in places but it's worth it. The ending lacks some detail and leaves some loose ends but you'll figure it out.
A fan of character driven movies with great performances, go see it. Need some car chases and hectic action, skip it.
BillyJim gives Fences an A.