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Fences

2h 19m Drama, Adaptation, Films, Talks & Events 2016

Viola Davis and Denzel Washington revive their Broadway roles with powerful intimacy in this film that earned Davis her first Oscar.

Viola Davis and Denzel Washington revive their Broadway roles with powerful intimacy in this film that earned Davis her first Oscar.

Price: $4.99 + taxes and fees

It wasn’t much of a risk for Viola Davis to play Rose Maxson in the big-screen adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer-winning play about a Black family struggling with challenges from within and without in 1950s Pittsburgh; she’d already won a Tony ― her second ― for the role opposite Denzel Washington and their co-stars Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russell Hornsby, and Mykelti Williamson in the Broadway revival six years earlier. The challenge was in modulating the performance for the intimacy of film, rather than the larger-than-life aesthetic of the stage ― and it’s here that Davis excels, as anyone who saw her single scene in John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt can attest. The entire cast (and ringer Jovan Adepo, standing in for Chris Chalk) is solid, but Davis finds ways to play Rose’s watchfulness and moral clarity against Washington’s frustrated patriarch Troy that pull our sympathies; when she finally reaches her limit, the whole film shudders at the fury she’s been holding in check. And Washington, directing as well as starring, makes sure the moment lands. With The Woman King reminding us just how powerful a presence Davis can be, take another look at the movie that won her that first Oscar.

NORM WILNER

Content advisory: racist language, violence, coarse language, sexual language

Language

English

Captions

English

Country

USA

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