If you are a Denzel Washington fan as I am, you’ll appreciate the excellence of his directing and acting in Fences. Washington as Troy and Viola Davis as his loving wife Rose, also played those parts in this Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play by August White. Fences was written as an intimate play, which is probably why from beginning to end, I felt I was experiencing a stage play or better, observing over a fence.
Troy is a workingman, trying to make ends meet. When he learns that his son, Cory (Jovan Adepo) has the opportunity for a college scholarship for his football skills, he squelches those dreams just as his once were. Rose becomes perturbed, but not nearly as distressed as she reacts soon afterwards to Troy’s news. (No spoilers here.)
Washington and Davis deliver award-winning performances that easily elevate this “play” to the best film category. The story itself is pure and timeless in the back yard conversations.
From Troy’s argument with death: All right . . . Mr. Death. See now . . . I’m gonna tell you what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna take and build me a fence around this yard. See? I’m gonna build me a fence around what belongs to me. And then I want you to stay on the other side.”
Fences could well be an anthropological lesson of a culture some may prefer to deny was grueling and for others continues to be arduous.