Fences – Director, Denzel Washington
This film is all about Denzel Washington. He produced, directed and acted the lead role. He managed to capture three Oscar nominations: Himself as Best Actor, his co-star Viola Davis for Best Supporting Actress and for August Wilson for the screenplay based on his Broadway play of the same name. Wilson passed away in 2005 and I have to assume the script for the film is very close to the original. Both actors performed the same roles in a Broadway revival a few years ago earning Tony awards for their portrayals. The movie covers a few months in the lives of a black family in Pittsburgh in 1957 and, like Manchester by the Sea, is difficult to watch as the family self destructs around the actions of Washington’s character who plays the father but comes together again at the end by the strength of the mother. Her soliloquy at the end of the film as she confronts her son’s anger reminded me in power at least of Linda Loman at the end of Death of a Salesman. The knock on the film has been that it fails to adequately transform the story from the stage to the screen but this is picky. The performances are all very good and while I do not expect them to win Oscars to put beside the Tony awards, they are compelling. I hesitate to recommend films like this because it is not escapist entertainment but will leave you thinking and if you are up for that kind of entertainment don’t hesitate to have a look.