Fences (2016)
December 27, 2016 5:35 AM - Subscribe

An African-American father struggles with race relations in the United States while trying to raise his family in the 1950s and coming to terms with the events of his life.
posted by lauranesson (6 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Surprisingly faithful to the play (although I've only read it, never seen it) and really well done. Washington reminding us that when he's not being a "liam-neeson-older-action-guy" he's a genuinely great actor. Viola Davis is of course not in need of reminding anyone of that.

It's been a while since I've seen something where nothing explodes and no one is trying to save the world. That 'epic' quality has been creeping into romances, comedy and drama lately. It genuinely took some time for my brain to adjust that no one from the government was going to ask Troy to go blowup the moon or something.
posted by French Fry at 8:30 AM on December 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

Viola Davis was truly amazing.
posted by augustimagination at 10:20 PM on December 28, 2016

I thought that Mykelti Williams was phenomenal as Gabriel, too; that's a really really hard role to pull off.
posted by TwoStride at 11:32 PM on December 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

I see great acting there, but I really didn't enjoy the overall product. I feel like when you adapt a play it shouldn't still feel like I'm watching a damn play. And it seems like one of the reasons you adapt a play is because they are capital C P Character Pieces. And this delivers in spades with monologue after monologue after goddamn scenery-chewing monologue.

It wasn't helped by the three or four false endings that the movie has, where the camera tilts up towards the sun and the music swells and everything fades to black and oh, no, good, another scene where he can be an asshole to his wife and kids because he had a hard life.

I've just been really disappointed in this year's crop of Oscar films.
posted by graventy at 1:41 PM on January 2, 2017

I did think that the movie was over at several points before it was actually over, as graventy says. (I haven't read or seen the play, so I didn't know when the ending was coming.) The camera was a bit ... unfocused? blurry? during the last scene with Troy when he's swinging the bat, and I thought that was definitely it, but nope. It didn't bother me, exactly, but I had to settle down in my seat a little more after every time it happened.

It did feel like watching a play, but again, that wasn't something that particularly bothered me.

Viola Davis, wow. (There's a good profile of her in a recent New Yorker.) Her ugly crying just about undid me, along with the rest of the delivery of the lines in that scene.

You not the only one who’s got wants and needs. But I held on to you, Troy. I took all my feelings, my wants and needs and dreams . . . and I buried them inside too. I planted a seed and watched and prayed over it. I planted myself inside you and waited to bloom. It didn’t take me no eighteen years to realize the soil was hard and rocky and it wasn’t never gonna bloom.

Anyone who's ever seen their emotional labor be completely unrecognized or undervalued or never even fucking considered ... yeah. That's worth the price of admission, no matter what happens after that point.
posted by minsies at 6:08 PM on January 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

I kept saying to myself how much it felt like a play during the movie, and I eventually decided it must have been adapted from a play.

While I started out liking Troy, I grew to hate him more and more. Oh, so you think you get to swipe a lot of dishes off a counter when you get upset and leave the mess for your wife to clean up? And get another woman pregnant and expect her to deal with that? And then go on and on about your feelings like that's the only thing that matters? And then bring home the baby for your wife to raise? And that's not even getting to how destructive a parent he was to his sons. It was like watching a rock being slowly moved away and gradually revealing what was underneath.

Viola Davis's performance was wonderful, but I know I can never bear to see this one again.
posted by orange swan at 6:50 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

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