“Now don’t you go through life worrying about whether somebody like you or not! You best be makin’ sure that they’re doin’ right by you! You understand what I’m sayin’?” - Troy, ‘Fences’

Fences is a movie adaptation from a play set in the 1950s. It stars Denzel Washington as a garbage collector and his wife played by Viola Davis. Troy the main character is a typical working man but one who harbours resentment because he was rejected by a major baseball league. He blames this on racial relations, his wife however thinks he was too old at the time to be a suitable player.

That unchecked anger because of failing to live his best life is reflected in how he treats his children. While his older and younger son want to be a musician and football player respectively, he believes their dreams won’t pay the bills. As the audience, we particularly experience a growing ugly conflict between Troy and his youngest son Cory initiated by the fact that he refused to give him permission to play in a college football team.

Furthermore, Troy who has refused to face his demons of accepting what his life has become ends up cheating on his wife and fathering a child at his old age. We see Viola Davis’s character bloom from one that is patient and quiet to one that is expressive and independent. Beforehand Troy brags about his wife being the best thing he has ever had but loses her so quickly when the mother of the child dies and Rose his wife must provide maternal care to new born.

Death is a looming theme for this movie. On the night the woman he was having an affair with dies while giving birth, Troy has an outburst and appears to directly speak to “Mr. Death”. He mentions that he will finish building the wooden fence he has waited long to build before it comes knocking on the door.

Film Details

  • Director: Denzel Washington
  • Location: United States, Canada
  • Runtime: 139 minutes
  • Genre: Drama

Bwiza Charlotte
Bwiza is majoring in Information Technology and Economics. She likes listening to gospel albums, reading novels and learning about feminist issues.