Fences: a movie review by Toni Susskind

February 9, 2017 by Toni Susskind
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Fences is a movie that takes its time exploring and unravelling the complexities of human reasoning and nature. 

Oscar nominated Denzel Washington directs and stars in the film, reprising his role of dissatisfied with life, Troy Maxson, from the 2010 stage play of the same name.

A skilled actor, Washington’s forte has always been playing flawed characters and this time is no exception. Set in the late 1950’s in Pittsburgh USA, Maxson is a failed athlete, who now in his 50’s, works as a garbage collector. With a jaded view of the world, he tries to look after those he loves, but his reasoning is flawed and his methodology is often questionable.  Desperate to keep his family under his influence, it is Maxson’s constant need to feel empowered, that causes the largest fracture in his family.

The Oscar nominated Viola Davis, who played wife Rose in the stage production and movie, gives a luminous performance. Her raw and honest portrayal of a wife feeding her unfulfilled husband bits of herself, so he can carry on is powerful. When Maxson tells Rose that he deserves sympathy because “I’ve been standing in the same place for eighteen years,” she snaps back with, “Well, I’ve been standing with you! I gave eighteen years of my life to stand in the same spot as you,” highlighting how two very different people, can view life from opposite angles.

Incorporating a stellar cast of actors, including Mykelti Williamson, who played Bubba in Forest Gump, Fences is an outstanding film that was labeled as a top 10 film for 2016, by the American Film Industry. Nominated for four Oscars, it is a strong, thought-provoking film that explores family bonds and the lengths people will go to, to protect themselves.

Go see it.

Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in.

Rating: 9/10

Playing:  Australia wide.


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