(AllHipHop Features) Denzel Washington is the thespian emeritus, but the veteran actor still offers a clinic to his peers. That clinic is “Fences,” the incredible new film he stars in and has directed. The movie tells the humorous, tragic and sobering tale of a family of a Pittsburgh, PA family and all the accompanying peaks and valleys. Based on the August Wilson play of the same name, “Fences” delivers a Christmas gift with a gut punch of reality.
Denzel, the incomparable Viola Davis, Russell Hornsby, Mikelti Williamson, Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo and even little Saniyya Sidney deliver a master class in “Fences,” wrought with multi-layered messages on the family condition. However, much of the story homes in on the relationship of fathers and sons. I spoke with Denzel and he offered a helping of tough love to Black men and what the general message “Fences” is for us.
“Pain is passed down from father to son, from son to son. A lot of pain in Troy’s life (the lead character in “Fences”) is a result of the pain and damage from his father that he then visits on his son. We as Black men have to be mindful of that sometimes. Sometimes its unfair and sometimes we take it out on those that we love.
And I’m guilty of that frustration that we all have. But we have a responsibility and a duty to be fathers – not to just make babies. But to be real fathers. And you can’t expect any good to come to you if you don’t visit any good to your son or your daughter. So, be a man.”
In the movie, foibles of the protagonist Troy (played by Washington) are replayed over and over again until it has a ripple affect in his seemingly normal, stable blue-collar family. “Fences” is the must-see movie for the Christmas season, but it will continue to deliver a message of strength, perseverance and resolve well beyond the holiday season. Even in death, playwright August Wilson has a delicious recipe for art, storytelling and the human condition.