Fences: Film Review


I had been wanting to see Fences for ages because it was so infuriating writing awards show coverage without being fully qualified to make an opinion but now I have seen it and can officially say Viola Davis and Denzel Washington deserve all the awards recognition coming their way.

Washington plays Troy, the husband of Rose (Davis), who is struggling to make ends meet with his refuse collection job. He is a drunk, unhappy with his lot in life and his harsh on his boys Lyons (Russell Hornsby) and Corey (Jovan Adepo). Their marriage is hit by an explosive revelation that will shatter the family forever.

This is based on a play and you can tell. It is long (2 hours 20!) , all about the very dense dialogue and takes a long time to get going. I was enjoying it but after about an hour when the plot hadn’t really gone anywhere – I liked the chat and learning about the characters but it seemed to have no direction – and my energy and concentration did start to flag until bam! the revelation. Then I was there, with it, with my full attention. I loved it as soon as it reached that moment.

The performances were fantastic, as to be expected, but they didn’t become “oh my god give him/her the award” until THAT moment happens. Davis in particular was so convincing and emotionally gut-wrenching, my heart went out to her, and I was desperate for her to wipe her snotty nose! Washington was ace as a man who hates life and likes to constantly remind his family of the sacrifices he has made. He’s not a particularly nice guy and he plays this unflinchingly. Adepo was also excellent and I shall keep an eye out for him in the future.

Fences is emotionally gruelling, is quite the endurance test, and isn’t enjoyable in the most obvious sense but the quality of writing, characters and performances make this an A+ film.

In cinemas Friday 10th February 

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