Movie Review: Check Out These Takeaways From This Much-Talked-About Film
“Some people build fences to keep people out…and other people build fences to keep people in. Rose wants to hold on to you all. She loves you.”
This statement was lovingly spoken to “Troy” (played by Denzel Washington) by his brother-friend “Bono” (Stephen Henderson) in one of 2016’s final movie releases, Fences. Rolling Stone is calling Fences, “one of the best films of the year!”
This post contains affiliate links which helps to keep this blog a well-oiled machine.
This film had me thinking about the variations of family dynamics by the end of it. Sure, there were many scenes that were laughter-worthy and others that were rivetingly pulling at my heart strings. I attended the showing with my 16-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, who fell asleep twice (he is an admitted “movie theater hater”, he says it takes up too much time that could be better spent playing). My daughter and I often looked at each other throughout the film communicating our thoughts about certain scenes silently with facial expressions instead of words. Here are my thoughts about the characters and my overall perspective of the family:
I want to start with “Lyons” (Russell Hornsby) who is the eldest of Troy’s children who was born long before Troy married “Rose” (Viola Davis). Lyons represents the starving artist who would rather go without in the name of his dreams than to get a regular paying job to eat. I found it both hilarious and realistic how he shows up like clock work on his father’s payday to borrow money from him. The semi unspoken truth is that Lyons felt it was owed to him by Troy since he was not there as a father during his childhood because he was incarcerated instead. Like many wives of then and now, Rose would make certain that Troy gave up the cash when Lyons asked. Even at thirty something years old, Lyons still longed for his father’s support as he repeatedly invited him to watch him play at the local clubs. Troy always declined; nevertheless it seemed that Lyons found a way to love his dad anyway. How often do we see this in families today?
Now, Jim Bono, more affectionately called “Bono” is Troy’s best friend who tries to be Troy’s voice of reason alongside Rose. I truly enjoyed his character on screen and their interaction together and how they shared a pint every payday in Troy’s backyard. In a world where people don’t like to tell their loved ones when they’re wrong, Bono is bothered about what looks like the wrong path Troy is taking and voices it. We see a change in their relationship by the latter part of the movie and that’s thanks to Troy doing exactly what Bono was trying to encourage him not to do. I’ll elaborate later. A loving friend, nonetheless, but it was difficult for him to digest wrong-doing.
Gabriel! “Gabriel” (Mykelti Williamson) is Troy’s special needs brother who suffered a gun shot wound to the head during his time fighting in the war. The injury left him in a state of a child perhaps, maybe a three or four-year-old child. I absolutely adored his character and the love Troy has for him. “Gabe,” as they call him, believes that he works for St. Peter and talks about judgement day the entire film. He shows us just how involved he is in the process at the very end.
Now these last few characters I will intertwine. I like to think of them as the nucleus of the story. “Cory” (Jovan Adepo) is the son of Troy and his wife Rose. Cory is athletic much like his father except his sport is football while his dad’s was baseball. Troy is very resentful of not being able to further his talents in the major leagues but there weren’t any “brothers” in the major leagues during the highlights of his playing time. Because of his own bitterness and failure to succeed in sports, he doesn’t support his son’s love and potential recruitment for football and this puts a strain on their relationship. I was angry at this because too many times children fail due to a lack of support and parents fail to support either because of their own issues or a lack of understanding. But can we see that his sons have two different loves yet he supports neither? Yep!
Rose tries to help Troy see that he’s hurting their son, but he doesn’t realize it. Now, I still have mixed feelings about Rose, however. I love her dedication to her family and how she takes care of her home like a professional, but her commitment went beyond my capacity. Troy loves her but his commitment wavered and his indiscretions punctured the hearts of those close to him. What I’m getting to is that Troy fathered a child outside of his union with Rose after 18 years of marriage! Even she said, “I could take this after two years maybe even ten but 18 years?”
This is the issue that Bono has with Troy and tries to tell him to stop, but, unfortunately, the damage was done. His mistress, “Alberta,” (only talked about during the movie, not shown) was with child. Aside from this, the thing that hurt even more, is that when asked if he was still seeing her, he made it clear to Rose that he had no intentions of ending the relationship. Sir?! You mean to tell me you gone cheat on me, get her pregnant AND you gone have a boo and a wife on the side going forward?! Naw, nope, not happening – we’d be done! His rationale was that he could basically escape responsibility when with her. Well, not for much longer – she’s pregnant! He brought the paycheck to Rose every Friday, then one Friday brought a whole baby too!
Needless to say, we were floored. Rose didn’t leave the home and baby “Raynelle” (Saniyya Sidney) was born after months of silent treatment from both Rose and Cory towards Troy’s cheating behind. But life is unpredictable, right? Alberta died while giving birth and when Rose told Troy in the middle of the night, he had the nerve to lose his balance from the impact of the hurt! I just couldn’t you guys, at least I don’t believe I could! The nerve of him to be so heartbroken and to display it in front of his wife. We felt for her. Troy brought his baby girl home and asked Rose to be her mother because she was innocent, true. Rose obliged, but let him know, “right now this child’s got a mother, but you a woman-less man.” Troy killed what was left of his family, who for years dealt with his pride and crazy stories. He even lost the closeness of his friendship with Bono for not heeding his advice about ceasing to cheat on Rose.
Is this not someone’s true story? Too many times it actually is. Could you have stayed with a man who brought this type of betrayal to your marriage? How would you deal with trying to reason with a husband interfering with the dreams of his children? Would you be able to raise your husband’s child produced during your marriage with someone else? Why are these types of indiscretions only acceptable when a man commits them? Let’s not ignore the double standard here, I don’t know a man who would keep his wife around had she gotten pregnant by another man. This is another reminder that women have accepted and dealt with so much disloyalty for generations and it’s socially acceptable with many. I’m over it.
Overall, I enjoyed the film and my daughter left the theater questioning if she wants to get married and my son was simply happy that the two hour film was finally over! Ha!
Check out the movie trailer here:
Need movie tickets to see this much-talked-about movie? This film has already been nominated for multiple awards.
Order your tickets via Fandango!
Xpress your thoughts on the story below, we LOVE hearing from you all! Until next time…XoXo
[All images retrieved from Fandango]