Male and Female
Unless music is involved, nobody these days talks enough about the great live Broadway performances, but more so the movie or TV series they are streaming on a mobile screen. So now, Denzel Washington (Malcolm X, Training Day) sets a clever strategy in place to create better public appreciation of the performing arts: using his experience acting in August Wilson’s play, Fences, he combines the humanistic, real-time feel of a play with the eye-to-eye level of power created by the culturally obsessed virtual screen.
How does he accomplish that you may ask? Well, only one single set takes up the majority of the film’s runtime, giving the feel of one single continuous scene, only relying on dialogue to carry the tension. The genius fusion of these two artistic mediums results in a heated, unsettling character drama which sticks to your ribs and controls you.
The living situation of the run-down family is meticulously detailed within their all-Negro neighborhood. Mr. Washington plays the indecent ruling patriarch over the home, a full-time colored garbage man, and the home’s sole breadwinner. The mother played by Viola Davis (Doubt, The Help) stays at home, wondering where her self-centered husband goes after work each day. The oldest son played by Russell Hornsby (Grimm, Lincoln Heights) plans to pursue a music career, with money bargained by his unwilling father. The youngest son played by Jovan Adepo (The Leftovers) still survives under their roof, dictated by his unloving father. As we see their few highs and many lows under the heated sun, attention never gets lost with the crucial information learnt about their hearts.
Denzel Washington proves how his experience acting on Broadway has prepared him for his tremendous screen direction. He stages the actors to express the household’s separation, however much the religious decorations on the house’s borders force them together. Although the sets look way too much like on stage, hurting the ability to feel engrossed in an authentic looking worn-down predicament. But the theatrical greatness comes less from the theatrical set, and more from the theatrical dialogue.
Everything coming out the actors’ lips parallels a live show, while also imitating talk by genuine people. They talk aplenty about their personal issues growing up, so much so, you need to pay close attention to remember something important. In fact, the dialogue pacing spits out in the speed of a play, rather unsuitable within cinematic bounds, where the actors are not the only visual element to the story. So you may have to put your glowing screen in your pocket away while you ingest your undivided attention to the feature.
Gradually, the tension between the tiny cast grows and grows from a serious lack of faith. Then suddenly, a devastating plot twist strikes you with snake fangs, pulling the less active characters out from the shadows to take charge. Never before since The Sixth Sense could a plot twist shake you so unnervingly. Even then, you won’t as feel shaken as Viola Davis was while delivering her dialogue of epiphany, commanding true, powerful tears from the ideal independent woman who understands the world’s needs.
The discomforting new nature of this Tony-nominated play pulls back the picket fence to reveal a completely different side to the American Dream at the dawn of the Civil Rights Era. While the lack of any redeeming White characters gives the race an overly bad name, it helps to recreate the play’s unique depiction of a fallen African-American family inside a changing world.
So due to recent events, everybody must see Fences right away, no matter their skin color. Both 2016 and 2017 needed a reminder on the importance of building fences: who are we keeping away from our existence? Who are we keeping in to better ourselves? What do we tear down to help our loved ones be better than we ever were? Such questions explain the vitality of in-person storytelling including stage productions: it forces us to look closer and see people in person for who they are, which in my perspective, we could benefit from.
You would not want Denzel Washington’s character as a father. You may recall seeing trailers advertising this movie, where he scolds to his son, “What law is there saying I got to like you? Don’t you eat every day? As long as you in my house, you put a sir at the end of it when you talk to me.” Hopefully you never had a father unnervingly speak similar words to you; if it turns out you did, I’m here to help.
Children all over live under fathers who are poor role models or express no care to love their children. Any child (and mother) wound find it traumatic, even more so when the child has autism.
Everybody’s first impression of adulthood comes from the parents. For girls, the mother must show them how to be a woman. For boys, father must show them how to be a man. In both cases, the father, being the usual household leader, stands as the whole house’s role model. You don’t have to agree, but in most circumstances, that is just how it goes.
Thus, any father should grasp the difference in how to treat a child on the autism spectrum, because there are many. Autism means senses are far more sensitive, so things like yelling in order to discipline creates more harm than good in the relationship. It also means a possible difficulty in forming a connection. My dad and I both took the Myers-Briggs personality test, and our results were almost completely opposite of one another. Although we had little difficulty in developing a relationship over the years—we found plenty to bond over including movies and food. In terms of understanding problems however, a barrier certainly existed. Likewise, autism will often create emotional distance on both sides of the father-child relationship.
Then the parents have to somehow agree upon their parenting tactics.
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #34: One is Overprotective and Shelters Him.
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #35: One Wants to Make Him Normal.
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #36: One Doesn’t Want to Be Involved.
Fences delves into the very issue quite a bit, where the father always has the final say, and the wife has no contribution in anything. Eventually she gets sick and tired of it and stands up against her fear built up over the years. Communication guarantees a healthy marriage. Especially when there are disagreements, voice them earlier rather than later to prevent unneeded crisis.
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #100: Never Stop Saying I Love You.
Yet what to do if daddy simply has no desire to better his character? He could be an alcoholic, abusive, fool around with other women, or simply never express any love toward his kids. Sadly, no one single answer exists to help somebody on the autism spectrum under such a predicament. Nothing can express it: The confusion, sensory overload, and depression without a good role model to look up to. You may believe nobody else exists for a boy to know who to aspire, or for a girl to know her ideal traits in a good husband. No two situations are alike, so here are some general tips to help you if you’re stuck in said situation:
- Take a look at my dad’s series of videos about raising autistic kids. He always pulls a single lesson about his book, briefly covers it, and offers three takeaways to understand autism better as parents.
- If you are the mother caught in this issue, don’t wait for someone else to take charge, or feel like you have no options other than to watch on the sidelines. Take action; and know that if things really get dangerous for everyone involved, and the husband shows little potential for future change, it could be time to take some action. Stand up for your own rights.
- There are other local male role models your kids could look to. These include therapists, teachers, and other relatives all over who would love to become a role model to help your children understand the real world.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see reviewed, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Fences Movie. Paramount Pictures. Web. <http://www.fencesmovie.com/>.
Miller, Matt. Here's Why Denzel Washington's Fences Will Land on Every Oscar Ballot. Digital image. Esquire. Hearst Communications, 27 Sept 2016. Web. <http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/news/a48962/fences-denzel-washington-trailer/>.
Pacelli, Lonnie. One-Minute Lessons on Raising Autistic Kids - 1 Minute, 3 Takeaways - Excerpted from Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids. Weebly. Web. <http://www.growingupautistic.com/1-minute-videos.html>.