I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Monday, January 02, 2017

Fences (2016)

Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) is a garbage man.  He's been married to Rose (Viola Davis) for close to two decades. He has an adult son, Lyons (Russell Hornsby), from a previous relationship.  Another son, Cory (Jovan Adepo) is a teenager who lives at home.  Troy's brother, Gabe (Mykelti Williamson), is mentally ill, due to an injury he suffered during World War II. Troy's best buddy, Bono (Stephen McKinley Henderson), is a co-worker.

Troy once played in the Negro Baseball League, but he was not allowed to move up in the professional sports career due to the race politics of the time.  He sneers at guys like Jackie Robinson (the film is set during the mid-1950s) who were allowed to play on predominately white teams.  When Cory is given a chance at a college football scholarship, Troy dismisses the notion, telling his son that white people aren't going to let him do much with that.  Rose tries to diffuse the tension between father and son, but without much success.  In addition to deferred dreams, Troy deals with guilt over Gabe's fate in life, and an affair that he's been hiding from Rose.

The performances are good in this film, which is based on a play written by the late August Wilson.  As I watched the film, however, I couldn't get past the "stagy" feel of it.  Most of the action takes place in one spot, and it doesn't open itself to other locations.  There are long stretches of dialogue that probably played very well on stage, but unfortunately, can appear slow on film.

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