Fences Movie Review

Hadley Hudson, Staff Reporter

Fences is deserving of its 4 Oscar nominations (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay). The true story sends messages of how people react to tragedies, and the characters reflect the people that are in everyday life. Although it is a simple story of one man, the portrayal is more than that- it teaches lessons about family life and an individual’s own mind.


Fences centers around Troy Maxson, a Pittsburgh sanitation worker who once dreamed of a career in the MLB before they accepted black players. Maxson’s simple and dreary life revolves around his love for his wife Rose and his relationship with his best friend Bono, his 34 year old son Lyons, his brother Gabriel, and his 17 year old son Cory. Maxson has a strange personality, for example he excitedly boasts about wrestling with Death and meeting the devil in a such a bombastic manner that it both entertains and causes a lot of laughs for his audience (his family and the audience watching). As the story unfolds, more depth is seen in Maxson and the rest of his little family. Lyons is Maxson’s son from a past relationship who wants to be a musician but it avidly deprecated by his father, Bono and Maxson met in prison and have known each other for 20 years, and Gabriel was shot in the head during the Japanese war and is now mentally disabled (Maxson took the money given to Gabriel by the army to buy his family’s house). Maxson’s inner conflict about not getting into the MLB is shown in all aspects of the movie, from the filming techniques to the setting to the way the plot progresses it is shown that Maxson cannot handle his normal and simple life. Possibly the best character in the movie is Rose, played by Viola Davis (Davis has already won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress). Everything that Davis says has so much purpose, the audience hangs onto every word. Her dialogue, as well as the dialogue in the rest of the movie, is the highlighted factor of every scene. Because the film is based off of a Pulitzer prize winning play, the award winning dialogue is the best part of the movie.
My one recommendation is to not bring any young children to this movie, and by young I mean physically and mentally. Fences is pretty much people standing around and talking for 2 hours (because of the highlighted element of simplicity), so if someone gets bored easily, I would not recommend Fences for them. Other than that, I recommend it to everyone. The characters, dialogue, and overall themes reflect reality so much that one finds themselves relating to every plot piece brought up. It teaches a deep lesson about humanity as a whole and how the people in our lives function and work together.