Denzel Washington’s new film Fences, though quite intense in certain ways and only appropriate for ages 13 and up (it’s rated PG-13, and certainly a well-matched rating), baptizes the viewer in the best and worst of humanity, but it does so with a well-meaning heart. There’s a spirit of forgiveness and kindness that slips behind every scene and ultimately triumphs by the end of the film–though not without pushing through plenty of the ugliness of human nature.
Bottom-line: it’s a film about complex souls (as we all are) filled with wounds, ugliness, but also beauty, and it’s a story that will make you wince at times. From a Christian perspective I can’t help but think of Tim Keller’s sermon series called “War Between Our Selves.” This film powerfully depicts a little hint of what Keller talked about: the Hyde-Jeckyl battle within all of us that, frankly, is impossible to win unless Christ is allowed into the ring (when we allow Him into our hearts).
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, and the entire supporting cast, hit a home run with this one. They deserve the praise they’ve been getting. Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by August Wilson, it’s no wonder the film has unusually excellent dialogue.
The film was critically acclaimed when it was released in theaters in 2016, and now it has just been released on Blu-Ray and DVD. I was given a copy of the Blu-Ray, and I’m impressed with the depth of the bonus features, as follows:
The FENCES Blu-ray Combo Pack includes over 30 minutes of fascinating bonus content. With interviews from the cast and crew, including actor/director Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, discover how August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play was adapted from stage to screen. Plus, visit the movie’s Pittsburgh set, learn how Davis prepared for her award-winning performance, andmuch more. Buy FENCES on Blu-ray Combo Pack and get a bonus digital copy of The Manchurian Candidate (2004), starring Denzel Washington, for a limited time only.
And here is the press release that gives more detail about the film’s story and the cast:
Academy Award® winner* Denzel Washington directs and stars in the powerful and moving drama FENCES, arriving on Blu–ray, DVD and On Demand March 14, 2017 from Paramount Home Media Distribution. The film arrives on Digital HD February 24, two days before the 2017 Academy Awards ceremony. Hailed by critics and audiences alike, FENCES has been nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Denzel Washington), Best Supporting Actress (Viola Davis) and Best Adapted Screenplay (August Wilson). FENCES also has been named one of the best films of the year by the American Film Institute, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, the Producers Guild of America and more. In addition, Washington and Viola Davis both won SAG Awards for their performances and Davis’ transcendent performance earned her the 2017 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and more than a dozen critics’ group awards. Adapted by legendary writer August Wilson from his own renowned play, FENCES follows former Negro-league baseball player Troy Maxson (Washington) in 1950s Pittsburgh as he fights to provide for those he loves in a world that threatens to push him down. An unforgettable and timeless masterpiece, FENCES “connects with people on a deep, emotional level” (Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times) and pulses with the universal truths of love and forgiveness, despite what lies beyond your own fence.