The film adaptation of August Wilson’s Fences will leave you breathless. I have never seen a more beautifully adapted play in my entire life. The only way this story could’ve been a masterpiece was through the excellent direction of Denzel Washington and his spellbinding cast. It is through these individuals that we are able to be taken into the lives of the characters and be the viewers of what society was like in post World War 2 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Fences marks Denzel Washington’s third directorial film. Audiences might even consider it the best of the three, surpassing the memorable Antwone Fisher (2002). Washington captures the essence of Wilson’s American dream by portraying a man whose haunted past finally catches up to him.. Troy Maxson (Washington) makes a living as a garbage collector to support his family. Coming from a long road full of dreams left unfulfilled, Troy’s downfall is apparent from the very beginning. His wife, Rose (Viola Davis), is the only character who can truly understand what he is going through. At times, their relationship is tested by forces outside of Rose’s control, but they somehow manage to overcome them despite the emotional toll it takes on them.Washington and Davis  did an amazing job portraying these roles.  

Washington’s portrayal of how Troy’s failures have taken a toll on his entire family is what made the film captivating. Especially in the scene where he forbids his son, Cory (Jovan Adepo), from playing on the college football team, the audience can begin to see the tension rising between them. Another strong scene by Washington was when he discourages his older son, Lyons (Russell Hornsby), from pursuing a career as a musician. Instead of Troy lending a compassionate ear to his sons, he acts as if their dreams don’t matter, which can’t help but make the audience feel sorry for them.

Rose, on the other hand, serves as a safehaven for the entire family, and because of Davis’s excellent performance she earned a well-deserved Golden Globe.  Her most remarkable scene, however, was the big argument she has with Troy about her having put his dreams before her own.. Davis, through Rose, portrays the selfless mother perfectly.

Fences is a masterpiece. Its intelligent blend of drama, comedy, and tragedy  will without a doubt evoke laughs, tears, and sympathy for the characters. I believe that Washington, with respect to Wilson, wanted to tell audiences that individuals shouldn’t take their failures out on others. The film represents the ultimate failure to achieve one man’s dream and the choices he made that led to his downfall and left his family shattered.