I saw the movie Fences tonight. Apparently Viola Davis won the Best Supporting Actress award at the Oscars but I was oblivious to the world at the time. At the end of the film, the credits rolled, the red curtain closed, and still I sat in my seat, stunned.
It was a marvelous depiction of human beings, with all their glows and warts showing. If ever I had the thought that there are great human beings, so-so ones, and then the yucky types … all of that faded tonight.
The dad had been a star in the Negro League of baseball but never made it into the Major Leagues. He has seen the ravages of prison and now works hard for his family from the back of a garbage truck. His son wants to play football but dad creates massive roadblocks so the boy won’t go through the pain he did. The younger question “Do you like me?” is met with the older response “I put a roof over your head and fed you.”
The wife has put her dreams away for eighteen years to love her man and her son. Her husband finally admits to an ongoing affair and insists on continuing to see the woman. The wife’s fury and agony pour out of her eyes and nose but later, when the mistress dies giving birth, she holds the child to her breast as her own.
Dad’s brother was injured in the war and is mentally long gone, but he is loved. His disability payments are the main reason that the family has a home.
No fairy tale lives here. Nobody’s blonde and cute, or ruggedly handsome. Just folks … loving and hating and loving some more.
Thank you, Denzel Washington, for directing and acting in such a reminder of our fragile stay on this planet.