Fences

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play written by August Wilson in 1983, Fences is an acting tour de force that powerfully evokes the ups and downs of being a working-class African American family living in 1950s Pittsburgh. Directed by Denzel Washington, the main protagonist named Troy is a middle-aged African American working as a trash collector and is brilliantly played by Oscar winner Denzel Washington. Oscar-nominated actress Viola Davis plays Troy’s stay-at-home wife who dutifully adores her husband despite his personal indiscretions. Similar to its original source material as a Broadway play, the movie has one primary setting, and the majority of the scenes are emotional conversations between the characters, with very little action. The film does a brilliant job of portraying the intrinsic struggles of being black and poor at a time when Jim Crow laws were still on the books. Washington’s character must deal with the responsibility of raising children from different women and must face his personal demons in his relationship with his strong-willed wife. Consequently, the movie delves into what it means to be a father and husband living in a society full of institutional discrimination. Troy uses tough love on his teenage son in order to teach him a lesson and ensure that his son leads a better and more productive life than he was able to accomplish. Overall, I found it to be a terrifically executed dramatic film that exposes the viewer to largely alien life experiences, reinforced through nuanced yet profound acting performances.

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