Sometimes the transition from stage to screen isn’t always the right choice. What works in live theater is not necessarily going to translate onto the big screen. Movies put emphasis on the most minuscule details where some of those details can be missed when you’re seated 20 rows back in a theater. So let’s dive in a take a look at “Fences” in this box office review…
The movie begins with dialogue that made me immediately curious if this was a play adapted to film. Having some experience in theater, I listened to the rhythms and patterns of speech and just felt that live performance theater energy. As the movie continued and the story kept to only a few locations I grew more and more certain I was watching an adaption and I was not wrong. The Google machine confirmed my suspicions with only a few clicks of a few buttons. This film adapted from stage to screen and directed by Denzel Washington is fantastic. I was not aware that this was already a play that has been acted out in theaters all over since 1983. I was completely clueless to this fact when I sat in my seat about to watching this story of a black man raising his family in Pittsburg circa the 1950’s. All I knew walking into this movie was Denzel Washington and Viola Davis were the leads and I loved the trailer. Beyond that, I had no clue what an emotional and true to life story I would be seeing.
The characters are every bit of the blue collar worker and family. These characters might be black but their struggle of trying to make their own way, keep family together, human mistakes, alcoholism, is all so human that it’s relatable to most any viewer. There are key points of conversation that identify the race relations of America in the 1950’s and the concepts of racial intolerance from a generation that grew up in the early 1900’s of America matched against a generation that is witness to Jackie Robinson playing professional baseball and black students being offered college scholarships based on academics and athleticism. This movie examines life from several angles and then digs deeper into each point of view to help explain to us the audience the motivation behind each action, spoken thought and expression. This movie examines life in a few characters and takes its time doing so.
“Fences” is in theaters now! If this film isn’t nominated for any number of oscars this year I will be surprised. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis are magic on screen together and apart. I was completely drawn into their performances and felt each emotion with understanding because of how well written and acted this movie is. The ancillary characters are even treasures. Each one adding to the persona of the two leads, giving us one more vantage point into the window of these characters story. This is a dramatic character study and I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed it. If you love dramatic oscar films, definitely see this on the big screen. If you just like the leads, it’s ok to catch this on Redox or VOD. You won’t lose anything because it’s all story and the story can be enjoyed anywhere.