Oscar Review: Fences – Denzel Washington


I promised that I would go through the Oscar nominations for Best Picture film by film..So here I am doing that, but trust me, to open with a film I struggle to summarise into words.

The film Fences stars Denzel Washington and Viola Davis as a married couple who share the hardships of life. Fences concentrates on the relationships within this family but also the relationships people have with themselves…I think. It can boast four Oscar nominations, Best Picture, Best Screen Play, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. I think I can agree with two of those. The coupling of Washington and Davis is an absolute stroke of genius, the chemistry between these two will have you believing that they really have been married for eighteen years and it’s fascinating to watch.
There are points in this film where I struggle to stay with it, not because I didn’t understand what was happening but because the dialogue was just a little too much. The opening first 10 minutes is a conversation between Troy (Denzel) and his best friend. You soon learn that when Troy wants to say something, he tells a story and makes his point within 5 minutes of dialogue instead of the one. It’s clever because this quickly becomes a character trait and you understand the character through this but it’s all a little tough to swallow sometimes.

I think the plot of this film really tries and it feels like it’s missing something. I understand that it’s showing the audience everyday life, everyday hardships and no matter what you stick with these characters. I don’t particularly like Troy, in fact I think he’s an absolute dick but regardless you start to care for his story, for his sons story, for Rose’s story (Viola Davis). You feel attached to the point where you just want to see how he makes it through, how the hell he’s going to figure out this situation. There is actually a point where he asks his wife to do something that no wife should EVER have to do, but she does it because she is his wife. She chooses the right thing above herself but makes it known that she is no longer his woman even if she sticks by him.

It’s a complicated story of loyalty and what people give up of themselves for other people. I found myself crying at certain points of the film because there is no doubt that the acting in this film is phenomenal and the director (also Washington) knew exactly how to convey the emotion of the characters but the 2hr 19 minute film has you running circles around yourself so you’re left exhausted (much like the characters) and feeling like something is missing (again, much like the characters).

I suppose it’s something to think about, what makes it a good or bad film. I didn’t love it, in fact i’m not sure if i liked it. It won’t be a film I’ll be reaching for every now and then, but it’s a film that made me think, and for those 2hrs and 19minutes I felt what those characters did. So I guess it did it’s job.

I’m not sure if it was best picture worthy but I do think the actors deserve their nominations. I think I need to sit on this one for a while…sit on the fence as they say (sorry) but I’ll get back to you when I can put coherent thoughts together on what I think of this film.

As of right now though? 6.5/10.