Critic Consensus: From its reunited Broadway stars to its screenplay, the solidly crafted Fences finds its Pulitzer-winning source material fundamentally unchanged -- and still just as powerful.
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as Deputy Commissioner
as Evangelist Preacher
as Garbage Truck Driver
as Troy's Father
as Parade Participant
as Bike Rider
as Front Yard Neighbor
as Towns person
as Neighbor / Soldier
as Soldier / Towns Person
as Angelo the Italian Server
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Critic Reviews for Fences
Viola Davis sets her own sky-high bar higher than ever. She has several of the film's most powerful monologues, and her emotions are so raw and so naked that they are utterly unforgettable.
Washington is very good, but it's Davis - hurt, proud, determined - who's the star of this show.
Washington has pledged to bring all of plays in the cycle to the screen. The good news is he started with a home run.
Yes, Fences suffers somewhat from the bare-bones transferal of the "action" from stage to screen but the material is so compelling that viewers can easily lose sight of the movie's "play nature."
The two lead performances are stunningly complex and deeply human achievements from two of the finest actors working today.
It's not cinematic enough to make you forget you're watching something conceived for another, more spatially constricted medium, but it's too cinematic to capture the intensity, the concentration, of a great theatrical event.
Audience Reviews for Fences
What really elevates Fences is the acting. This is a richly written ensemble pieces that heavily relies on powerful performances. Denzel and Viola are reprising their roles from the 2010 Broadway revival. [Incidentally, the original 1987 cast featured James Earl Jones and Mary Alice in those parts.] Needless to say, Washington and Davis know their characters inside and out. Denzel is extremely good and Viola is extraordinary. A woman so fully formed that I was even more drawn to trying to understand this individual. She fascinated me. It may be Troy's story in that every part exists to reflect his personality. However, I found myself sympathizing with her plight a lot more than her husband's. She seizes attention whenever she is on screen. The studio may have marketed her achievement as a supporting role to secure an Oscar nomination (and possible win), but she is no doubt equally important in this context. It's her authentic portrayal, as well as the subdued work of Stephen McKinley Henderson as Troy's friend Jim, that I will remember long after having seen the film. fastfilmreviews.com
Like a long filmed play, Fences at least relies on some outstanding performances that compensate for the film's lack of visual inventiveness. Full review on filmotrope. com
Had I seen the stage version I may have enjoyed this script. However, it's move to the big screen is one which didn't work for me. Instead of enjoying this masterpiece, you're trying to climb the 'Fences' to escape it's clutches.
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