More To Say #18: Fences

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Fences is a 2016 American drama film directed by Denzel Washington and written by August Wilson, based on his Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same name (Wilson died in 2005, but completed a screenplay before his death). The film stars Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson and Saniyya Sidney.

Principal photography on the film began on April 25, 2016, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the Hill District, and wrapped in mid June 2016. Fences was released in the United States on December 16, 2016, by Paramount Pictures, received positive reviews and has grossed $49 million. The film was chosen by the American Film Institute as one of the top ten films of 2016, and has been nominated for numerous awards, including four Oscar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor (Washington), Best Supporting Actress (Davis) and Best Adapted Screenplay. It also received a a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor for Washington and a Best Supporting Actress win for Davis.

Troy Maxson makes his living as a sanitation worker in 1950s Pittsburgh. Maxson once dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player, but was deemed too old when the major leagues began admitting black athletes. Bitter over his missed opportunity, Troy creates further tension in his family when he squashes his son’s chance to meet a college football recruiter.

I briefly talked about this one when I talked about Viola Davis in this week’s Actors’ Spotlight, but overall, a lot of what I said there can be said about the movie itself.

The whole movie essentially is unchanged from the original play by August Wilson, he essentially wrote a film version of his play before his death with the hopes he could get it made before his death and…well, obviously, that didn’t happen but yes, this is basically the exact same thing you would expect to see if you saw the play on a theater stage except in an actual movie.

I really enjoyed watching this movie, this is such a great adaptation to a really solid story and Denzel Washington helps to bring this story to the big screen in the best way he could possibly do so, he gives another terrific performance as Troy, Viola Davis gives a really good Oscar worthy performance as his wife, Rose, Jovan Adepo gives a solid acting feature film debut as Troy’s son, Cory.

The direction by Washington is really solid, it feels like you are watching a play being brought to the big screen and set up in real life, the cinematography by Charlotte Bruus Christensen is nicely done, the music by Marcelo Zarvos is really good.

Fences does a good job of bringing August Wilson’s play to life in a feature film and Washington does a great job honoring his story and bringing it unchanged and having it lead by excellent performances, good drama, a good script, great music, great cinematography, a really solid and enjoyable movie.

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