Fences - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Fences Reviews

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December 22, 2016
Some plays lend themselves to the cinema better than others. Unfortunately, Fences doesn't seem to be one of them.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
February 22, 2017
The epilogue of the story, which probably works very well on stage, when presented in a more subtle way, simply doesn't work in the big screen. "Fences" is a powerful but failed drama. [Full review in Spanish]
November 22, 2016
There's nothing lost in the translation of "Fences," but its high fidelity means there's little, if any, inspiration to be found within.
Full Review | Original Score: C
December 14, 2016
Dialogue that might work onstage feels artificial on film, and Wilson's symbols come across as clunky and obvious, especially when there's not much to look at.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
December 22, 2016
Feels entirely stage-bound and artificial, with set design and performances that might make sense for live theater, but which feel stilted and ineffective onscreen.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
February 12, 2017
On stage, this would no doubt be powerful stuff but Washington the director has done little to open up the drama and adapt it for the big screen.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
February 10, 2017
The inordinate length of the piece and the constantly descending tone of the drama results in an ultimately heavy, draining experience from a director who should have been braver in breaking out of the constraints of its stage origins.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
February 9, 2017
Fences is a filmed play that never seems anything else: a yatter of life of death, directed by Denzel Washington from August Wilson's Pulitzer-winning 1983 play.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
February 12, 2017
The symbolism is heavy handed. It's like being repeatedly clobbered by Troy's prized baseball bat: Rose takes a phone call that delivers bad news; a lightning flash illuminates the crucifix on her wall.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
February 16, 2017
There is a powerful drama here about the legacy of racism but Washington doesn't know how to liberate it from the stage.
November 28, 2016
Like many plays brought to the screen, Fences still feels like a play. Sure, you can get closer to the performances, but it still feels like a live reading.
December 22, 2016
Only Davis manages to keep her responses sounding fresh and free of stagecraft. But her character, much like the audience, simply ends up maxed out on Troy Maxson.
December 24, 2016
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.
January 16, 2017
Get it? Gabriel with his trumpet? Man, you ain't even listening.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
March 9, 2017
All that being said, Washington and Viola Davis - reprising their 2010 Broadway roles - are so damn good and the supporting cast is so solid, Fences is worth seeing for the acting alone.
February 22, 2017
Fences is a poignant domestic drama that takes its time and seldom cuts corners, the dialogue sprawling and spiking in a way that seems much better suited to the stage than what we are used to seeing on the snackable big screen.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
February 8, 2017
Fences is an important tale of humanity, responsibility, self-sacrifice and error told from the perspective of lives that have been occluded from the grand narrative.
February 17, 2017
All one can do in my position is to reiterate just how powerful a piece of cinema this truly is.
January 14, 2017
This film isn't about Black pain or the struggle of being economically disenfranchised. This movie is about real life which just so happens to be filled with Black fully actualized characters that have depth and grace.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
January 23, 2017
The stunning acting and August Wilson's timeless words will captivate you again and again.
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