Starring: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson
Director: Denzel Washington
1950’s America. Troy Maxson (Washington) is a working class man, who, according to IMDB is a man trying to raise his family and come to terms with the events of his life. Viola Davis plays his wife, Rose. This is a fairly good description of this stage play by August Wilson, who adapted it for the screen, and is directed by Denzel Washington.
Washington is a pretty reliable director, and props to him for this film. It’s really great to see more films lately by and about black lives and race. I find these kinds of stories really interesting.
However, although this film is a good film technically and in the performances, I didn’t really enjoy it that much. It’s long! 2 hours, and it feels like 2 hours because there’s not a lot of action and a lot of talk, being based on theatre. Washington and Davis give wonderful, natural, and heartfelt performances, but… Well, it’s a film about a really awful guy. Troy is a drinker, he is awful to his kids, he wasted his own opportunities to be an athlete and he never shuts up about it, he cheats on his wife and then gives her a hard time about it, he holds his son back because he’s jealous, and… minor SPOILER, he has his brother committed to an institution so that he can take his money. I could go on, there is more, but I don’t want to give away too many events.
He’s a man who learns nothing. He’s immature and incapable of taking responsibility. And it’s pretty irritating.
Viola Davis is really the heart of this film, and I think, the best part of it. She’s a consistently wonderful actress, and here she’s a wife who comes closer and closer to breaking point as events unfold, and she has to face the truths her husband has hidden from her. At quite a few points, I kind of wished the film was about her. She’s must more interesting than her washed up and bitter husband. Perhaps I just didn’t “get” this film, and just appreciated it’s technical aspects.
But perhaps it’s also that I feel like there are enough jerks in life (male or female) that I just didn’t enjoy spending 2 hours with one without them learning anything or growing as a person. However, that’s really just personal opinion, and there are those of you out there who will get a lot out of this film, and I think that Viola Davis and Denzel Washington deserve to have their work seen.
See It If: you’re a Viola Davis or Denzel fan, in that case it’s a must see! But not for the crowd who like action or who are restless, it’s a long film with lots of talking for you guys.