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of August Wilson’s play)
Denzel Washington and Rhode Island’s own Viola Davis. Could you ask for two better actors to play Troy and Rose in August Wilson’s award-winning play, which Wilson adapted for the screen before his death.
Washington and Davis played the roles on Broadway for three months. The play also was performed a few years ago at Trinity. Serious plays that basically take place on one small set are often difficult to transfer to the big screen, but director Denzel Washington has succeeded in doing so, thanks to some powerful performances.
“Fences” is the story of Troy and Rose and their immediate family. It is a bit wordy at times, as Troy pontificates on everything from baseball to job discrimination to his troubled past and present commitment to his family.
In one moving scene that will bring you to tears, Troy talks to his son (Jovan Adepo) about his responsibility to provide him with food, clothing and a roof over his head. “Love” is not included.
Troy is a controller. He loves his wife, but it is love on his conditions. Rose accepts those conditions until a life-changing event happens that is more than she can endure.
This is a film filled with emotion that occasionally explodes in scenes that grab you and never let go. When Rose confronts her dominating husband, you want to stand up and shout “amen.”
Troy is a garbage man who wants to be the first black garbage truck driver in Pittsburgh. His resentment toward the white man hangs over him, especially when he resents his son playing football instead of getting a job where he can work with his hands and “make something of himself.”
Troy was a star baseball player before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and resents the fact that he was not allowed to play in the Major Leagues. There are more baseball analogies in the 2¼-hour movie than you’ll get on ESPN in a year.
The movie starts slowly, as we learn of Troy’s childhood, his caring for his mentally ill brother, his musician son by another marriage, and his troubled relationship with his son. Stick with the slow buildup to the powerful ending and enjoy the eloquent words that Wilson has given his characters.
And sit back and wait for what should be Academy Awards for Davis and Washington.
Rated PG-13 with some profanity. Encourage your children to see this movie and discuss the many subtle and blatant references to racism with them.