Francesca Mathewes, Co-Editor in Chief

For me, movies serve a lot of purposes. To laugh, to cry, to provoke thought. And Fences does it all.


It follows the story of a working class African American family in the 1950s, headed by a stubborn father who fights an ongoing battle with demons from his past and the way this battle affects his family.


The plot sounds simple enough, but this movie is anything but that.


The dialogue, the subplots, the complexity, and the intensity of every character is over the top. Denzel Washington was already one of my favorite actors, but he’s now earned a spot as one of my favorite directors as well.


His performance in this movie is so real and so raw — I’ve never hated and rooted for a character as much as the role he plays as Troy Maxson, the troubled father of the protagonist family.


This movie shares an important message about love, family, struggle and the hardships many working class families face, all highlighted with the additional racial tensions of the 1950s, and does it in a way that is somehow subtle, yet speaks volumes. I can honestly say that I left this movie feeling as though I had experienced something. The dialogue is so personal and real, you can’t help but feel that you are in this movie, and the things are being said to you. It’s such an intimate insight into a struggle that so many families — past and present — have faced, and it’s a story that I think a lot of people can relate to in a really moving way.
But as highly as I praise this movie, be warned: it’s certainly not what’d I’d pick for a laid-back matinee or to see on a date. It’s heavy, intense and definitely requires your full attention if you really want to know what’s going on. While it’s an important film, I wouldn’t call it ‘fun,’ but worth the trip to the theater regardless.