NOTE: This is a SPOILER-FREE review. (You can read about the time I went to see this play on Broadway.)
Happy holidays all, and thanks SO much for reading! No matter what we celebrate, MOST us can agree that Denzel Washington is a GREAT actor. Last week, I went to a free pre-screening of August Wilson’s play-turned-film, Fences; it was directed by Denzel, who is also the lead- Troy Maxson. FYI: I found out about this screening from the movie Meetup I’m a member of; a few of my friends/neighbors got passes from the Advanced Screenings DC web site.
Everything that boy do, he do for you. -Rose explains to Troy re: their son Cory (who has the potential to get into college based on his football skills)
There are 3 main aspects to this story: Troy’s bitterness/disappointment at his life as a garbage man and his (internal) demons; his relationship w/ wife of 18 yrs, Rose; his cold and recently-troubled relationship w/ 17 y.o. son, Cory. This film was shot on location in the Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh, lending to its authenticity.
The domestic drama is set in the mid-50s, when the world was changing for perhaps a FEW black individuals (such as Robinson), blacks (or “Negroes”) had to deal w/ the daily injustices of segregation, poverty, limited opportunities, and most of all- racism. There are more sets in the film than in the play; we get to see inside the humble Maxson home, as well as a few other places out characters inhabit (local bar, Rose’s church, the streets of Pittsburgh).
We know Denzel and Viola Davis are phenomenal, but FENCES allows them to venture into places and show us shades that may not have been seen before. And I’m sure it feels liberating for all the actors involved in this film to just dig deep down, tap into those emotions and lay them bare for the world to see, and there’s no wrong way of doing it. -Excerpt from an IMDB review
It’s not easy for me to admit that I’ve been standing in the same place for eighteen years! -Troy
Well, I’ve been standing with you! I gave eighteen years of my life to stand in the same spot as you! -Rose
Denzel and Viola make a formidable couple- they have GREAT chemistry and are adept w/ the dialogue (which is a reflection of the culture and times). ALL the original Broadway cast is back (Washington, David, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russell Hornsby, and Mykelti Williamson), aside from Chris Chalk (who has aged out of the role of Cory). In this film, Jovan Adepo plays Cory; he attended college in Prince Georges (PG) County, but is British-Nigerian. I thought he was very natural as a teenager, relatable, and (obviously) capable enough to go toe-to-toe w/ Denzel!
Now don’t you go through life worrying about whether somebody like you or not! You best be makin’ sure that they’re doin’ right by you! You understand what I’m sayin’? -Troy explains to his son, Cory
I highly recommend this film to ALL Denzel fans, as well as those who enjoy history, theater, and family stories! Get ready to see Denzel as an unglamorous anti-hero (w/ dark aspects to his personality). Viola is fabulous, too; she deserves a LOT of respect for her work here. Check out the trailer below.
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Here is an article re: the film (focusing on black men & mental health):