Fences Compare And Contrast

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There are great actors and then there is Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. Even in films that have not worked well or critics and/or audiences have poorly responded to, they command our screens, steal away our attention, and make every line reading they give something worth listening to. In short, there are in a master class of acting prowess few, if any, can hope to achieve.

With Fences, the two simply circle around one another impressively, just as they did on Broadway in a 2010 revival of the late-playwright August Wilson’s 1983 play. Both Washington and Davis won Tonys for their portrayals of Troy and Rose Maxson, respectively, a husband and wife in 1950s Pittsburgh. Troy works alongside his best friend Mr. Bono (Stephen McKinley Henderson)
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Rose has asked Troy to build a fence around their property for years, and Troy uses it as a way to try and engage with Cory every Saturday. Cory, however, is too busy for his dad’s liking. He has hopes to play college football and has arranged not only for a recruiter to visit his parents, but also has been conscientious enough to have his job at a local grocery be held for him until the season is over. Father and son have nothing which resembles a close relationship, as Troy badgers Cory over every decision he makes. Those fence-building sessions often lead to a few pencil marks, a few saw cuts, and the wood going back in the bin. There’s always another Saturday after…show more content…
It all ties into the film’s claustrophobia and the fact, as Mr. Bono tells Troy, “some people build fences to keep people out and other people build fences to keep people in.” And fences are everywhere. The fence Rose wants built around the property. The fence that Troy wants to put around his son’s dreams. The fence that stops Troy from being happy for any accomplishment outside of his own. The fence that limits Troy from watching his oldest son perform at a jazz club. The fences that Troy boasts about hitting over, with the supposed countless number of home runs he hit in the Negro Leagues.

Fences is not going to uplift you or send you out of the theater with a Hollywood ending. The film, the play really, lives deep inside the gut, conflicted through and through with how to express its characters feelings and emotions. There is a raw, exposed nerve-like quality to all of this which is equally refreshing and uncomfortable to watch. And so, as the film finds a wider audience, some will understandably recoil against this and, as a few people remarked when leaving the theater, come away saying, “I did not like this at
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