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I’d forgotten so much that when I first saw Fences, I did not expect it would linger the way it has. But there is something more — and that’s the mostly unexplored relationships of a man who can’t step up and be a father and a husband.
His frailty, his incompleteness, his fear of death. Perhaps that is what we miss seeing with many black characters on screen, at least not in the films I see every year, those that are burdened with ticking all the right boxes.
This is not directly a story of oppression, segregation.
or racism, but rather the silent echo of those truths permeating throughout the background of their lives.
Black artists deserve and demand more stories be told to depict lives where a black man is not a slave but a president, and everything in between. That is what makes it one of the most important films of not just the year, but of the decade.
Roy (Denzel Washington) and his family live in an ordinary house on an ordinary street where they live out the daily struggles of an imperfect life.
Washington’s body — how he stoops, how he struts, how he wilts, how he intimidates — was made for the big screen. Born to be seen that big and that wide and that lit up.
He brings us inside a world that must remain confined, closed in.
Roy could be anybody, but his own hopes and dreams were stifled because there was only so far most black man could go back then.
Roy wanted to be a professional ball player but that path was not open to him.