Fences - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Fences Reviews

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November 1, 2018
Most of the performances are good and August Wilson's screenplay shines at times. But the flat, blatant direction, the unsubtle storytelling and Mykelti Williamson's performance just inspired me to want to build a fence around it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
October 31, 2018
This is a movie featuring capital A acting with lengthy, wordy impassioned monologues and impressive performances but never once does Fences feel the least bit cinematic.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
December 26, 2017
It does have some wonderful and touching moments, but as a whole, Fences is a couple of palings short.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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+
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
August 21, 2018
Often overpowered by Washington's forceful turn, Fences struggles with a bad case of thematic redundancy... The film also fails to define a cinematic rhythm separate from Wilson's doozy of a script.
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
October 16, 2017
With an abundance of baseball references, Fences, which also outstays its welcome, is likely to struggle to win over British audiences.
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
November 5, 2018
As purely a thespian venture, the Denzel Washington starring and directed Fences is an applaudable homer.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
November 3, 2018
Fences ultimately rests on the shoulders of Washington and Davis, who are at the top of their game.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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