The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
Directed by Denzel Washington, who also appears in the movie as its lead, Fences offers a startlingly detailed look into the Black relationship - and touches upon the destructive nature of Black masculinity, particularly when it involves the Black woman.
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.
Although Fences can be charitably viewed as a star vehicle for the actor-director - and he does reach for the rafters in certain parts, so loud and proud is his performance - it is Davis who walks away with the production.
Serious or not, many films are merely entertainments and are easily forgotten, even if they succeed. But a serious film such as Fences is a privilege to see, not just as a dramatic entertainment but because it reverberates long after it ends.
Watching it is like getting a front-row seat to the beautifully mounted revival of a classic work of American drama, starring two stars who know and understand that text as well as any actors in the world.
Washington's performance -- as big as it gets -- is all wrong for the movies, where even a self-aggrandizing character like Troy Maxson, a former Negro Leagues star ballplayer turned '50s Pittsburgh garbageman, needs to be scaled back to feel realistic.
Fences is a labor of love and attention must be paid. You don't get writing or acting of this caliber every day, and in this particularly dreary year of second-rate everything, this movie is something special.
It will not come as a news flash that Mr. Washington is a movie star of the first rank... what he does here is both sizzling and subtle, a star performance that does equal justice to the play's poetry and kitchen-sink reality.
Washington's role is obviously meaty, and he plunges into it with a mix of swagger and vulnerability. But it's Davis, not surprisingly, who really shakes the rafters, in a performance tailor-made for her.