Fences - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Fences Reviews

Page 1 of 74
September 3, 2018
A film adaptation of the Broadway play by August Wilson. The screenplay for Fences was also written by him. Took 11 years after his death for the film to finally be made and it's directed by Denzel Washington.

This film's title refers to the character Rose (Viola), who wants her husband, Troy (Denzel) to build a fence around the house to keep her family together. But the film is about how the family falls apart due to Denzel's character being too much of a realist.

This film tries to portray realism. Troy Maxson is a man who's gone through a lot of shit and finally gets to settle down with his family. But because he was away from home for a long time, his sons are estranged from him. And he treats them with the no-nonsense attitude.

In my honest opinion, I felt like Denzel was really trying hard and overacting as Troy. He seems desperate to win his 3rd Oscar. It even shows when Casey Affleck was announced as winner last year, and the look of disappointment or whatever it is, was seen on Denzel's face.

Not that I can blame Denzel, but he seems to talk too much in this film. There are times where I felt like shouting "Dude just shut up!! Let someone else talk". I do understand it's a huge plot point to show just how annoying Troy can be and even his family members can be seen feeling frustrated with him.

Which brings me to this, I think Viola played her role very well and truly deserved her Oscar award. She plays a wife who's trying her very best to satisfy her husband, who doesn't seem to notice her efforts.

The screenplay flows very well. There are many lines that needed to be memorised to match the same dialogues from the Broadway play and Denzel did a good job at that, I'll give him that.

Overall, as a nominated film for Best Picture, I'd say this is one that is inferior compared to the rest. I did not enjoy this film as much as I thought I would. Maybe it's just me but the story just doesn't seem to fit in cinema, but in a book.

Favorite Quote: "What law is there say I gotta like you?"
½ August 30, 2018
Watched this in the theater, then on dvd, and recently on Cable. Remember that I was blown away by Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea. Damn near stunned. This one came out somewhat later. I thought "I can't believe we got 2 performances like that in one Oscar Year!". Anyone who grew up with a blue collar Dad with thick forearms and a set of balls knows what I mean about Denzel in this role. What sunk this one was people a lot smarter than me. They said it just did not live up to the play. I had never seen or heard of the play at the time I saw this movie in the theater. Months later, the second time through, I thought this one held up a touch better than Manchester by the Sea. At least for me. Jesus, what performances from Denzel and Viola Davis.
½ August 19, 2018
There's nothing quite as challenging as filming a play because a play demands that you capture the intimacy of a live stage to which film by its very nature doesn't recommend itself. While Denzel does an admirable job, especially keeping the sets to a minimum, I still think Fences would have been more affecting on the stage. August Wilson had a keen sense of stagecraft, and was obviously working within the tradition of Miller and O'Neill, not to mention the British post war Kitchen Sink dramatists like Delaney, Pinter, and Osborne. Also like many British working-class movies, this one too may have benefited from sub-titles.
August 17, 2018
It reminded me of my family.
August 10, 2018
Este film logra ser lo mas sincero si de relaciones familiares y conflictos de este índoles se trata,Denzel y Viola son tan carismáticos que esta cruda realidad que crear Denzel logra ser rebajada como una historia natural y completamente sincera, se deja de lado los cliches y ademanes hollywoodense y se abre paso a una historia mas centrada y humana.
½ July 30, 2018
Excellent film superbly acted by Washington and Davis, two of my favorite actors. The story of this family in the 50s in Pittsburgh touches my heart also, because I grew up in the 50s in the Pittsburgh area, too, so it was particularly poignant for me.
July 29, 2018
I feel likes its an unpopular statement to say Fences was just.... ok. Sure the narrative was gripping (to a point) and Denzel shows once again that, he is the man. But, I expected Fences to dive deeper on the drama since the layup was spotlessly executed. 3 nails, 5 boards.
Super Reviewer
½ July 15, 2018
Denzel Washington's third feature director credit. Often stage adaptations are accused of not being truly cinematic. And I've read criticism of Washington not being innovative enough with the camera and cinema language, but that is really not the only way to communicate the story, characters, and conflicts. I've read August Wilson's entire Century Cycle of plays. Only one has previously been adapted for the screen as a made for TV movie back in the 90s. According to interviews Denzel Washington plans to make more film adaptations of Wilson's work, which would be cool. The story of Fences is fairly straightforward and powerful about a generational rift between father and son, as well as the shattered relationship between husband and wife. This is Wilson's play set in the 50s, but it is a bit unique amongst his plays for jumping ahead in time in the final act to reveal further changes to the family in the shadow of the patriarch Troy Maxson. The symbolism of fences, baseball, and buried dreams can be painfully heartbreaking, but also declare the truth. The Hill District of Pittsburgh comes alive with great period detail and a talented cast.
July 14, 2018
More of a play than a film
June 30, 2018
Strengths: Come on. You know this starts and ends with the acting of the two leads. Denzel Washington (Troy Maxson) is as powerful as ever, playing a very flawed man who is doing his best but is so messed up, he's ruining everything around him. Viola Davis (Rose Lee Maxson) is the star of this thing, though. She steals the show and absolutely earns the Academy Award she took home for the role. The scene where she gets the bad news from her husband is pretty incredible. Jovan Adepo (Cory Maxson) does well to stand up alongside these stars who play his parents. His scenes with Denzel are particularly strong and some of the more intense of the entire film. August Wilson's adapted screenplay is a very good one. It remains dialogue heavy, as you would expect from a play, but mostly works well. What really helps it click is Denzel's directing. He uses a lot of camera turns and quick cuts that helps it feel like it's moving along quicker than it is.

Weaknesses: As usual, a film that is dialogue heavy can be a bit dull at points. A lot of it feels unnecessary. Film is a visual medium and there's not enough of a balance. With Troy doing so many negative things throughout, it's hard to root for him. That can make it tough to relate to the story. He doesn't get much of an arc. He does asshole things and doesn't change or pay for it. In fact, nobody really gets an arc, as the characters mostly stay who they were at the beginning of the story. Cory's the only one who goes from scared of his dad to standing up to him.

Overall: With lesser actors, this would be a forgettable film. The story doesn't lend itself to film that well, without many arcs and too much dialogue. However, the acting of Denzel and Viola is so great that it makes this the kind of movie you must see. Throw in Denzel's strong work behind the camera and you've got a film that is better than it probably should be.
June 19, 2018
After railing a bit on "Manchester By the Sea" yesterday, I had a strong desire to be cinematically satisfied. Unexpectedly, I went to see the one movie I wanted see over any other, the film version of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "Fences." I'm glad I did.

Denzel Washington directs this beautiful film with some of the richest characters I've ever seen collectively in a film, all flawed in their own way and as real as I can imagine. Set over the course of the 1950s and 60s in urban Pittsburgh, "Fences" symbolically represents the constructs we build around ourselves, the choices we make, the consequences of our life decisions and the impact we have on others. There is such immense humanity in these brilliantly acted characters. They represent all of us more closely, even uncomfortably so, than many characters portrayed in film.

The extensive dialogue is indicative of its status as a play first, but fits very well for the film. Denzel mixes camera turns/circles with brutal stationary shots that perfect match the mood and subject matter occurring at the time. As a result, the translation from stage to film is near perfect. Viola Davis is phenomenal, as usual, but the major scene when Denzel's Troy gives her some particularly bad news, is Oscar-worthy in and of itself. I hope the Academy notices and showers this film with everything it can.
June 18, 2018
Great performances. More of a play-on-film than a film, but very well done and powerful.
June 16, 2018
Psychological chains hold a struggling family at sway as generations vie to break the pattern of abandonment for personal gratification in lieu of familial responsibility.
½ May 25, 2018
Washington and Davis tear into their roles with what might be career-best
May 25, 2018
It's hard to capture on screen, on stage and even reading the play, there's a whole different atmosphere. Although, that doesn't mean the performances weren't amazing.
May 23, 2018
Fences is a 2016 American period drama film starring, produced and directed by Denzel Washington.
This period drama is largely set in just one location and relies heavily on dialogue focusing around Washington. It features an outstanding performance from Davis. There are some fine moments in the film, but there are also some flat periods. Although the film takes us to some emotional places somehow it fails to pass that emotion onto the viewer. AAN AFI
½ May 20, 2018
Denzel Washington is good (and threatening) as ever, but he is wasted in this long, dialogue driven film with no protagonist on sight. "Fences" is a good example of a film that reminds us not all theatre plays can be made into the big screen. There is so much dialogue happening in every scene that you just can't keep up. You literally have to put on the subtitles so that you can understand what the characters are saying. They either talk too fast or talk too much. It's overwhelming. Plus, Denzel's character is too much of an asshole for us to even cheer for the guy, let alone keep us invested in the film. If you're studying acting, then this film is good for you. But, if you enjoy the art of cinema, then look elsewhere. This film will only test your patience.
May 7, 2018
I loved the characters and the depth of the story, recounting how we are all shaped by those we know, for both good and bad. I wonder whether it might have been better to have cut away from the stage play more - for a film it felt too staged.
May 5, 2018
Long, talky, and boring.
May 4, 2018
Fences confined setting leaves its success almost entirely on its cast which is a well paid off gamble in which Denzel Washington and Viola Davis remind all who dare question that they are fearless on screen warriors.
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