500 Days Of Film Reviews Drama, Fences, Starring Denzel Washington And Viola Davies

Set in 1950s Pittsburgh, Fences follows former Negro-league baseball player Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) as he struggles to provide for those he loves and accept his place in a challenging world. 

Is It Any Good?

Fences was adapted for the screen by August Wilson, from his Pulitzer prize-winning play (of the same). From its first scene - a conversation between Troy and his best friend Bono (Stephen Henderson) - the film's stage roots are clear. Indeed, throughout its 2 hour and 19 minute running time, Fences feels more like theatre than cinema.


It takes time to acclimatize to this rather stagey atmosphere and the sheer amount of dialogue is overwhelming. However, the film’s handling of its weighty script is extremely impressive and, by the second half of Fences, you find yourself accustomed to the verbosity. 



Reprising their Tony award-winning roles, Washington and Viola Davies give superb, nuanced performances. Davies (playing Troy’s long suffering wife, Rose) is astounding. You feel her pain - particularly in light of the film’s heartbreaking revelations. 


While Denzel Washington’s film never feels cinematic, his adaptation of Fences is gripping, entertaining and deeply moving. By transferring play to screen, Washington shares August Wilson’s complex and universal story about love and forgiveness. In doing so, Troy and Rose will find a fresh, international audience. And it really is a privilege to watch these actors perform at the top of their game.   

Random Observations

Denzel Washington has said that he could not have taken on the role Troy in the film of Fences if he hadn’t portrayed him in the theatre version of August Wilson’s play.


Have you seen Fences?


If you have, what did you think of Denzel Washington’s movie? Let me know by leaving a comment in the box below.

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones

E: jane@500daysoffilm.com


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