Fences (2016)

fences“Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in.” – Bono

Number of Times Seen – 1 (3 Jan 2017)

Brief Synopsis – A black man living in 1950’s Baltimore tries to raise his family despite regrets about his past.

My Take on it – I love films like this that are completely dialogue driven.

We get to know so much about the characters and lives just by listening to what they have to say because that is all we are offered here.

There are no fancy sets, no special effects or even transition scenes; all we get is scene after scene in a normal house or on its porch and we get to imagine the rest just based on what the characters tell us.

It’s so much fun listening to Denzel Washington, Viola Davis and Jovan Adepo because their lives are the ones we wish to know and understand and each syllable that they spit out tells us something about who they are, how they got there and where they can potentially go on from that point.

I’m usually not the biggest fan of Denzel because I think he’s not the most prolific of actors, but in this film, his acting isn’t based on motion, but rather just on vocabulary and dialogue and he helps us know and understand his character very well here.

We get a great impression of what life was like for characters like these during the 1950’s, what they perceived as prejudices or not and of course, like all of us, regrets or happiness over decisions made in our youth that follow us around forever.

Bottom Line – Great dialogue driven film that is able to says so much just by the way the characters act and react to everything around them.  This film’s ability to rely only on dialogue makes it so interesting to listen to because the scenery doesn’t change much, just the way the characters talk and feel about everything going on around them.  Gives us a great impression of how black families felt during the 1950’s and how their think evolved over the different time periods this film takes place in.  It is quite enjoyable watching Washington, Davis and Adepo interact on screen. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Although August Wilson had long worked on the screenplay adaptation of his own play Fences, the film’s script was still incomplete when Wilson died in 2005. In January 2016, Deadline Hollywood reported that producer Scott Rudin had hired the Tony- and Pulitzer-winning playwright Tony Kushner to finish Wilson’s screenplay. In December 2016, the New York Times reported that although Kushner didn’t receive a writing credit for the final film, he did get “a prominent mention as a co-producer” instead.  (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)


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8 thoughts on “Fences (2016)

  1. Great review, Rob. I’m totally on the same page with you! 🙂 The dialogue was fantastic. Denzel opened up the world and didn’t make it feel like a play to me. After all, it starts on the job in the streets, right.

    This character study reveals so much about the era. I really fell in love with this film, ranking it a whole lot higher on my Top 10 then a lot critics out there.

    Obviously, Denzel and Davis were phenoms, but I was really impressed by the son’s role too (actually, both sons). And Denzel’s brother was delicately balanced by the end – but had me wondering earlier. This almost felt like A Spike Lee Joint to me (like Do the Right Thing era). I know it’s based on a famous play, but it was all new to me. There was just so much flavour in dialogue, character, and setting. Loved it!

    Ahhh. Fences. What a breath of fresh air in this era of mass-marketed common denominator bullshit.


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