ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Movie Review: “Fences”

Updated on May 29, 2020
Movie Beasts profile image

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.


Theatrical Release: 12/25/2016
Theatrical Release: 12/25/2016 | Source


Fences tells the story of an African-American man named Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) living in the 1950s. Troy had hopes of being a pro-baseball player. Unfortunately, racial discrimination has prevented him from acheiveing that dream. Instead, Troy knew he had to provide, so has worked all his life as a garbage man. He has barely been able to support his family, but he has always done what he must to make ends meet.

Troy is now a middle-aged man, struggling to deal with his difficult life. He is long past his dreams, and has a justifiably bitter view of sports and the American dream. His father issues and his bitter view of the world have impacted his relationships with his wife (Viola Davis) and his children. His life has warped him into a passionate, but bitter man that his family is forced to live with.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

Acting (+10pts)
Long and Slow (-7pts)
Heavy Story (+10pts)
Denzel Rants (-4pts)
Last Few Scenes (+5pts)
Troy's Mistake (-3pts)

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.


Pro: Acting (+10pts)

Before I mention the incredible acting by the two main cast members, I want to mention the side characters and their performances. Mykelti Williamson was absolutely phenomenal in this film. I do not want to spoil the character for anyone who wants to see this movie, but Mykelti played a very complex and entertaining character. Though whenever I see him in a role, a part of me wants him to start listing the various ways you can prepare shrimp. Another great performance was by Jovan Adepo who played Troy's son. There were some heavy, dark, and intense scenes involving this character that Jovan captured brilliantly.

Now I do not think I need to mention how incredible Denzel Washington and Viola Davis are, so know that they both brought their A-game to this film. They both subtly capture the weight of life and lost dreams. They each also have incredibly impactful scenes that remind you (in the event that you have forgotten) of how talented they both are. They portray vulnerability so passionately that it is hard to look away. 2016 had some great performances, but both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis deserved Oscar recognition for this movie.


Con: Long and Slow (-7pts)

This movie was showered great acting. Unfortunately, with the great acting came long monologues for the actors to sink their teeth into. This made the movie feel very slow. They were strong performances, but they made the movie feel long and uneventful.

You will walk away from the movie remembering its better moments, but the movie really could have been thirty minutes shorter. I can't think of anything specific that I would cut out (aside from Denzel's rants, however I will get into that later), but everything could have been tightened up and condensed. The movie just felt like it was a reasonably short script that the filmmakers stretched out as much as possible. The end result was a movie that had interesting characters, but a lot of boring scenes.


Pro: Heavy Story (+10pts)

I kind of mentioned this earlier in the review, but this movie is heavy. It is all about life and how difficult it can be when you have missed out on your own dreams. More than just missing out on your dreams, but letting your dreams go for a mediocre life, all because the world of baseball (your dream) did not accept you due to the color of your skin. It is all about Troy feeling unfulfilled in life and how he cannot do anything about it.

We see how this man copes with his uninteresting fate, and he does not handle it well. We then see how Troy responds when his son aspires to play baseball. Troy is filled with regret over what he has done with his life. He feels like he has wasted it and it is something Troy struggles to live with. The premise, coupled with Denzel Washington's performance, gives real weight and made for a compelling story. The side characters also have heavy stories, my favorite of which was the character played by Mykelti Williamson. I do not want to get into the details, but it was captivating.


Con: Denzel Rants (-4pts)

I think Denzel Washington is a great talent and I already said he deserved Oscar recognition for this role, but wow does he ramble a lot in this movie. There are a few scenes (specifically in the first half of the film) where Denzel Washington had these long rambling monologues. I will be honest, I like a movie that has scenes heavy and good dialogue, but this felt like overkill. He rambled on, and on, and on about baseball and about stories from his youth.

I am not going to lie, I zoned out a few times despite my best efforts. The movie was able to bounce back after these scenes and was able to recapture my interest, but man were these scenes a struggle to watch. It was just that the long ramblings were not all that interesting. He was just rambling about his past but there was little weight to any of it. He used to be a great baseball player, we get it. He is filled with regret over never fulfilling his dream, we get it. Did we really need multiple, long monologues to get those points across?


Pro: Last Few Scenes (+5pts)

There were a few scenes at the end of this movie, that served as an epilogue of sorts, which went on for about ten or fifteen minutes and wrapped everything up in a cool way. I did not expect the movie to end this way but, for a movie as emotionally heavy as Fences was, I think an ending such as this was necessary. We got emotional closure with this family and it worked for me. Troy, despite his many issues, has severely impacted everyone in his life.

He was a unique, damaged character, but his family loved him anyway. The ending of this movie served as a way to redeem the character of Troy in the audiences’ eyes. Troy did a lot in this movie that audiences will not be on board with, but the ending of the movie was all about unconditional love. This made the audience see Troy’s flaws while also sympathizing with the difficult life he has had to live. The filmmakers delivered a slow paced film, but the ending was strong.


Con: Troy's Mistake (-3pts)

I am going to be as vague as possible here to avoid spoilers, but Troy did something in this movie that severely hurt his relationship with another character. The reason I had issue with this, was that it was something he had done awhile ago that he is only revealing now and it really felt like it came out of nowhere. They had been hinting at something like this throughout the movie, but the reveal was way more severe than anything I could have assumed. It really came out of nowhere, and I would have liked to have seen a scene where the screw up happened earlier on in the movie. That would have added more suspense leading up to the reveal, and would have made for a much more dramatic scene when he finally does reveal it.

Grading Scale


Grade: B+ (86pts)

Fences was a heavy and dramatic movie with fantastic acting across the board. The movie was essentially carried by the quality acting because the movie was also long and slow. Without these great actors, this movie would have been a struggle to get through. It had its problems but, in my opinion, its pros definitely outweighed its cons. I definitely recommend checking out this movie as it showcased the incredible talents of Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. However, it might be a movie better viewed at home when you can pause it and take bathroom or drink breaks, because of its length and slow pace.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)