It was a cool, cloudy day so Gordon and I watched Fences. Wow. I saw James Earl Jones play the part of Troy years ago and I remember being really impressed with his performance. Well, he might just have to take a back seat to Denzel Washington. The character that Denzel portrayed was just as big and charming but had more depth, I thought. Maybe that was the way the work was displayed on film. The play action is restricted to the backyard but the film used the house interiors. And you can be much more intimate on film. Even the weather became part of the story when Troy challenges death during a storm. I call it his Lear moment. Actually, Fences could be considered an American Lear. Excessive pride is a flaw in each main character. The film starts with Troy and his son building a fence but it’s an allegory for the fence he built around himself as protection. He’s so good at keeping people out and in being in control of all situations that he fences out all laughter and joy, too. And when he finds a woman who brings joy to him…well, don’t want to be a spoiler but his wife isn’t happy.
Gordon and I are still talking about the Troy character’s motivation in preventing his son from playing football and taking a college scholarship. Troy had been hurt by sports but is he trying to protect his son or trying to prevent him from succeeding where he couldn’t? Lots of things to discuss about this movie. We’re still talking.
Viola Davis plays the long-suffering Rose, Troy’s wife, and, as usual, she’s great. The whole cast is. I recommend going to this movie with a group of friends and having a discussion group afterward. August Wilson is a brilliant writer and Washington did a marvelous job as director. Fences is sure to get a Best Picture Oscar nod–it deserves it. Probably Best Actor and Best Actress nods too. It’s a great film.