Good Fences (2003)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A black family gets a first-hand look at the trials and tribulations of upward mobility and suburban segregation in this pointed comedy. In 1973, Tom (Danny Glover) is an African-American attorney who is determined to raise himself up by his own bootstraps from his position near the bottom of the totem pole at a law firm. Tom takes on a case no one else is willing to touch -- defending a confessed arsonist whose crime claimed the lives of two teenagers -- and when he manages to score a surprising legal victory for his client, Tom is given a promotion and he moves his family to a new home in the suburbs. However, Tom and his wife Mabel (Whoopi Goldberg) discover they're only the second black household to move into the neighborhood (the first was a woman who struck it rich in the lottery), and housewife Mabel soon learns her neighbors aren't especially open to the notion of ethnic diversity in their community. Good Fences was directed by former cinematographer Ernest Dickerson and produced in part by his frequent collaborator Spike Lee; the film was screened in competition at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival.
R (sexuality, some language and violence)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Sonar Entertainment


Danny Glover
as Tom Spader
Whoopi Goldberg
as Mabel Spader
as Ruth Crisp
Norma Dell'Agnese
as Jean Bonner
Matthew Brown
as Young Tom
Zachary Simmons Glover
as Tommy-Two (age 17)
Ryan Michelle Bathe
as Stormy Spader (age 17)
Ashley Archer
as Stormy
Joy Tanner
as Binky Goodyear
Kate Trotter
as Becka Rainier
Lina Felice
as Luisa
Yacoob Jaria
as Hector
Vanessa Madden
as Young Mabel
Chris Collins
as Young Pea-Pie Pearson
Aron Tager
as Butcher
Gene Mack
as Mabel's Father
Barbara Barnes-Hopkins
as Mabel's Mother
Phillip Jarrett
as Pea-Pie Pearson
Alex Fallis
as Norm Bonner
Donovan Palma
as Andre Crisp
Roger Dunn
as Lt. Governor
Bill Lake
as Inspector Wilkins
Stephen Sparks
as Redneck
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Good Fences

All Critics (0)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | July 21, 2008
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

January 20, 2004
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Good Fences

This film should be gated off in its own community. Even Glover and Goldberg did not shine in this poorly scripted, terribly directed film. Though the premise of the movie was admirable, the issues become muddied almost from the get-go with no real concern from the actors followed by apathy from the audiance. A waste of film brightened only by an occasional Whoopi or Mo'Nique moment. Avoid this.

Mike Delpin
Mike Delpin

Good Fences is a movie about a family (comprised of Danny Glover and Whoopi Goldberg) is endure life in a very upper-class neighborhood amidst an abundant amount of white people, many of whom not caring for their new neighbors. The sharp social commentary within this film, not to mention the nice direction from Ernest Dickerson (Demon Knight, Surviving The Game) really work to create a darkly humorous film that doesn't beat racism and white hatred into the ground like many black films. Glover's character specifically is so important but manages to stay subtle since the movie focuses on Goldberg's character so much, however, both of them struggle a great deal in their new surroundings. Glover's character is so interesting because he strives so hard for the career he wants (having been inspired by a near fatal accident involving racism) that he's willing to forget his roots and get to the top by overwhelming his white peers by jumping hoops for them, ultimately becoming a self-hating black. Goldberg's character is charming and handles her disdain in a similar way to the white women amongst her neighborhood by becoming addicted to booze and pills. Their children also provide interesting points in the storyline by having been raised in such a white surrounding that both drift in opposite directions of self-discovery. Honestly, this is a fantastic movie that doesn't have to be other black comedies where characters jump through hoops and dress up as fat black women just to appease audiences. This entertains in a whole other different way. Excellent movie.

Jason Duron
Jason Duron

An interesting film facing a little addressed problem of rascism of blacks from other blacks.

Sarah Prisbylla
Sarah Prisbylla

Super Reviewer

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