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Fences (2016)

PG-13 | | Drama | 25 December 2016 (USA)
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A working-class African-American father tries to raise his family in the 1950s, while coming to terms with the events of his life.

Director:

Denzel Washington

Writers:

August Wilson (screenplay by), August Wilson (based upon his play "Fences")
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Popularity
1,748 ( 112)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 52 wins & 107 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Denzel Washington ... Troy Maxson
Viola Davis ... Rose Maxson
Stephen McKinley Henderson ... Jim Bono
Jovan Adepo ... Cory
Russell Hornsby ... Lyons
Mykelti Williamson ... Gabriel
Saniyya Sidney ... Raynell
Christopher Mele ... Deputy Commissioner
Lesley Boone ... Evangelist Preacher (as Leslie Boone)
Jason Silvis Jason Silvis ... Garbage Truck Driver
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Storyline

Troy Maxson makes his living as a sanitation worker in 1950s Pittsburgh. Maxson once dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player, but was deemed too old when the major leagues began admitting black athletes. Bitter over his missed opportunity, Troy creates further tension in his family when he squashes his son's chance to meet a college football recruiter. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Some people build fences to keep people out - and other people build fences to keep people in.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, language and some suggestive references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Barreras See more »

Filming Locations:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$24,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$129,462, 16 December 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$57,642,961, 24 March 2017

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$64,098,857, 20 March 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the film's opening shot, the most prominent building on the left side of the street is lettered PITTSBURGH COURIER. The Courier was Pittsburgh's African-American newspaper, among the country's most respected. One of its sportswriters, Wendell Smith, advocated for ending the color line in major league baseball and traveled in 1947 with Jackie Robinson through his inaugural season with the Brooklyn Dodgers. See more »

Goofs

When Troy and Bono are talking in 1956, a tan 1955 Pontiac Chieftain two-door is parked at the curb. It has Buick Wildcat wheels from 1961. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bono: [riding their garbage truck job] Troy, you oughta stop that lyin'.
Troy: I ain't lyin'. The nigger had a watermelon this big. Talkin' about "What watermelon, Mr. Rand?" I liked to fell out... "What watermelon, Mr. Rand?" And it's sittin' there bigger than life.
Bono: What Mr. Rand said?
Troy: He said nuthin'. He figured the nigger too dumb to know he carryin' a watermelon, he wouldn't get no sense out of 'im. Trying to hide that great big watermelon under his coat. Afraid to let the white man see him...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lorraine: Episode dated 27 February 2017 (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Jesus Be A Fence Around Me
Written by Sam Cooke
Performed by Viola Davis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Denzel Washington, With One Of The Best Films Of 2016
25 December 2016 | by virek213See all my reviews

Denzel Washington is clearly one of the best actors we have ever had, African-American or otherwise. Whether it has been in serious, sober-minded films like GLORY, MALCOLM X, and COURAGE UNDER FIRE, or explosive action films like CRIMSON TIDE, MAN ON FIRE, and UNSTOPPABLE, Washington has given all of himself, and then some. And then, like more than a few great actors, he also itched to get behind, as well as in front of, the camera as a director, which he did in 2002 with ANTWONE FISHER, and again in 2007 with THE GREAT DEBATERS. He does double duty again for one of the most insightful and true films of 2016, FENCES.

Scripted by noted playwright August Wilson from his own Pulitzer Prize-winning play, FENCES stars Washington as an average Joe-type sanitation worker in late 1950s Pittsburgh dealing with the world at large. He had been a baseball player once before World War II, but it never amounted to much; and when one of his sons (Jovan Adepo) wants to get into football while going to college, Washington tries to steer him away, managing only to alienate his son further than he already is. Washington does have a good friend in Mr. Bono (Stephen Henderson), but he is still troubled by a dark park of himself, one that threatens the eighteen-year marriage between him and his wife Rose (Viola Davis).

Adapting stage plays to the screen is not exactly the easiest thing in the world to do, because what works on a stage needs a great deal to transfer it to a movie, and a real, breathing set. Fortunately, Washington found a way of making it happen by filming in a part of Pittsburgh that seems not to have changed all that much from the way it must have looked in the actual time that FENCES is set. Wilson's stage play and screenplay are full of language and slang that is very right for the times, and, yes, this does include a profuse use of the 'N' word. But a certain amount of uncomfortable language is what is necessary for a story like this, especially given that it involves not only Washington on both sides of the camera, but also another hugely superb performance by Davis as his wife, who manages to somehow stand by her man despite the horrible secret he reveals near the end. Equally fine in supporting roles are Adepo and Henderson, as well as Mykelti Williamson as a former war buddy of his whose mind isn't right because of a severe head wound suffered in the war, and Russell Hornsby as Washington's son by an earlier marriage who constantly comes to his dad on payday for ten-dollar loans.

Though it is an African-American cast and story, FENCES works because it feels universal, and it is a story that could happen in any family, regardless of skin color or ethnicity. Washington and Wilson (who passed away in 2005, and thus never saw FENCES make it to the big screen) make this very clear but in a non-heavy-handed way, and with dialogue scenes that are often long but never dull, earning it justifiable and favorable comparisons to Arthur Miller's classic "Death Of A Salesman".

All of these elements make FENCES easily one of the best films of 2016, and a sure-fire winner likely to be regarded as a classic in a very short time.


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