FENCES

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Viola Davis and Denzel Washington as Rose and Troy Maxson

“[Thank you to] the gigantically gifted Viola Davis. My God, somebody give her a movie!” Meryl Streep cried with her hands up in the air in her 2009 SAG Award acceptance speech for Doubt. And it sure worked a treat! Viola’s first Academy Award nomination was for appearing eight minutes in the aforementioned film. Her trascendence and responsiveness caught the eye of pundits, who nominated her again in 2012 for The Help. Ironically, Meryl beat her that year with a third Oscar win for The Iron Lady and Viola defeated her in the SAG Awards. Three time’s a charm for Davis, who gave a jaw-droppingly brilliant Oscar-winning turn in Fences (2016), a raw piece directed by Denzel Washington and written by August Wilson.

Adapted from the play of the same name by August Wilson, ‘Fences’ revolves around a 1950’s African-American family of three: Troy (Denzel Washington), Rose (Viola Davis) and Cory (Jovan Adepo). Apparently a strong marriage, the film opens with a long dialogue back at their backyard – not a coincidental pick as we later learn – between Rose and Troy. While both personalities seem predictable (a devoted wife and mother, and an authoritative man of the house), the shocking events that ensue change whatever conceptions we had developed about them.

Aside from the masterful performances delivered by Washington and above all Viola Davis, the raw and earnest script by August Wilson makes his Tony-winning play come to life. The electrifying interactions between Rose and Troy feel just like the scenes they shared onstage seven years ago. The supporting cast generously accommodates, still cutting to master with their truthful and honest turns as Cory and Jim (Troy’s best friend). The cinematography and soundtrack by Charlotte Bruus and Marcelo Zarvos, on another vein, perfecly capture then tension and struggles distinctive of their relationship and economical situation. 

 

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A deranged Troy therapeutically starts building a Fence much to his son’s surpise

I would highly recommend ‘Fences’ to anyone ready to watch Denzel Washington superbly direct himself while delivering a performance to remember (Casey Affleck? Really? Eye roll gif). But I would impose ‘Fences’ to those looking to witness one of the most memorable and of course, Oscar-winning portrayals in movie history. The way Rose’s face completely changes in the span of three seconds when learning about that, is pure acting magic. The first African-American actress to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony (now she only needs to write a book, record it and win a Grammy to accomplish the oh-so-unattainable EGOT), few times have I cried harder when seeing someone touch heaven with an Academy Award win. And her speech… Well, see for ourself.

Running time: 2h 19 minutes.

Country: United States.

Release date: December 25, 2016.

Box office: $64.2M

Grade: B

All images are taken from Google.

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