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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Fences Movie Review

The Trailer:

The Good:
In case you've forgotten, Denzel Washington can act like no other. Not only did he direct this Broadway play adaption, but he's at the top of his game as the lead character as well. His delivery of anecdotes will keep you intrigued just as much as each of the other characters who listen attentively. What I really appreciated about Denzel's character is that he was a really complex person. You didn't know whether to root for him, feel sorry, or hate him. In a sense, he was probably reflective of many parents and/or husbands that some people could easily relate to.

The entire film is driven by the cast and their great performances. Jovan Adepo (plays "Cory") definitely holds his own in this star studded cast. He was able to embody the epitome of a son stuck between the emotions of love, respect, anger, frustration and hatred. Russel Hornsby (plays "Lyons") and Stephen Henderson (plays "Bono") undoubtedly make their fair share of contributions as well.

Okay now that I've gotten them out of the way, let me take a seat and catch my breath from Viola Davis' AMAZING performance. Let me tell you something right now. If she doesn't win Best Supporting Actress in the Academy Awards, something is entirely wrong with this planet. I mean, her "snot scene" was just real, and powerful, and as awesome as any actor could dream of performing. I don't wear them, but if I wore pearls, they'd certainly be clutched tightly during her shining moment. She, without question, almost steals the entire movie away from Denzel. She makes a strong case for her role to be classified as a co-star rather than just a supporting role.

Beyond all that, there were some interesting plot twists and events in the film. Best of all, each of the events aid in developing the characters and stressing the relationships that they all share. There's definitely plenty of relational topics that one could relate to in some fashion.

The Bad:
Be prepared for a lot of monologues and dialogues. Fences isn't really "Hollywoodized" in the sense where it will give you short, and quick scenes from one event to another. As a result, the film's pacing may feel like it drags and takes a while to get going during the first half. Fences has a lot of stories that can feel tangential and sometimes even repetitive. (i.e.: Denzel's stories about playing baseball.) For some, it may also be a little distracting to hear the N-word tossed around so causally in conversation. It's not overboard like in a Quentin Tarantino film, but enough to be noticeable.

The Reason

Fences is a great movie, especially if you're the type that likes to watch Broadway plays. It's essentially a play shot for the big screen. The performances from all of the characters carry the film more so than the actual plot or story. If you're a psychology major, you could have a field day at trying to analyze the various events and situations that shape each of the characters.

I think one other important thing to consider in this film is the historical context it's framed in. I'll admit that I originally was a bit annoyed, for instance, with Denzel's character constantly complaining about his past. However, when I was reminded of the fact that this story is set in the 1950s (pre-civil rights era) and Denzel's character grew up during Jim Crow, things began to make a bit more sense. You could begin to understand why he saw and approached things the way he did given his upbringing and the fact that he literally saw racism on an everyday basis.

Anyway, I fully recommend checking out Fences. I think that if you were drawn by the trailer then you'll be more than pleased with actual product as well.

The Rating: 9/10

My [Loosely based] Ratings scale
10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs

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