Fences ★★★★

I find that character studies often fall into one of two traps, on either end of a spectrum. Many focus so much on their characters flaws that it's hard to care for them enough to make the movie worth your time. Even more want so badly for you to be sympathetic, that the film completely erases any consequences for their shitty behavior. It's truly difficult to make what I like to call "an empathetic character study". Empathy is a more nuanced emotion than sympathy. It's less about agreement as it is about understanding.

"Fences" is empathetic, and gives you the opportunity to understand the characters and their motivations without sacrificing the consequences of their actions. It strikes that perfect balance, and it's interrogations of racism, poverty, masculinity, and inner-demons are deeply moving as a result.

The way this story is told (and has to be told) is probably better suited for the stage, but it's a wonderfully intimate and enjoyable work of art regardless.

cameron liked this review