The awards nominee film Fences is an adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about Troy Maxson, an African-American working-class garbage man raising his family in 1950s Pittsburgh. Directed and acted by Denzel Washington, Troy lives with his wife Rose (Viola Davis) and his son Cory (Jovan Adepo). I have never seen the play and I didn’t know much about the story going into this film, but Fences is a well-crafted drama with very good performances. I never want to sit through it again, though.
There are no bad performances in this. Washington is great. Some of the most intense moments in the film are between him and Adepo, who also gives a great performance as Cory. Cory aspires to play in the National Football League, but Troy is holding him back. Troy was a talented baseball player that played for the professional Negro Leagues but never made it to Major League Baseball. Troy doesn’t want his son to fail, but there is some jealousy in him that Cory might achieve the success he didn’t. Davis is excellent as Troy’s wife, Rose. She gives a powerful monologue with all the tears and snot running down her face.
Fences is two hours and twenty minutes long, and you can feel the length. It’s just a lot of really long dialogue sequences with characters in the middle of arguments, joking or telling stories. Being adapted from a play, there are few settings where scenes take place. They tell a lot of things that happen but they don’t actually show them happening. I won’t spoil anything, but something happens at the very end of the film that I thought was really cheesy.
I appreciate the performances, but I didn’t like Fences that much. The story wasn’t as strong as the acting. I think people who have seen and like the play will enjoy this more than I did.
It’s not a bad film, it’s just not very entertaining and I can’t ever see myself going back to watch it again.