Fences

The movie that proves plays can be adapted into really good movies: Fences. It didn’t look like a play. It didn’t feel like a play. But its focus was on the essence of any play: acting and dialogue. There wasn’t fancy, eye-catching camera work or a flashy score. No special effects. Just sparkling, dazzling dialogue and mesmerizing performances from everyone in the cast. Two minutes into the film, I was hooked.

First, let’s discuss my favorite thing to discuss in these rambles: metaphors! Fences were pushed to their literary limit, and I mean that in the best way. There’s nothing like a tenfold metaphor that happens to double as the film’s title. First, there’s the obvious– the barrier between blacks and whites in that time. There was an insurmountable divide between the two in America in the 1950s, and the movie emphasizes that without ever overstepping the line into preaching or handholding. It’s in every scene: were there any white characters? I don’t remember, and I don’t think so. If I remember correctly, the only white person with dialogue came from the scene where Troy was about to go ask to be a driver, and the tension between them was palpable. It’s in every one of Troy’s electric dialogues. Continue reading “Fences”

Moonlight

Wow. My first thought after watching this movie: wow. It’s not a favorite of mine. It didn’t connect with me on a deep, personal level like other movies have, but from an objective standpoint it was phenomenal. It was risky and bold and classic and fresh, and the cinematography alone was absolutely breathtaking. If you watch the movie muted, without any captions, it still tells a story. It’s still a work of art.

Before I talk about the movie itself, I want to touch on the hype surrounding it, at least in indie circles. So many reviews of the movie start and end with : an African American movie! An LGBT movie! A movie that really shows poverty! I’m not using these examples to belittle the story or its themes in any way, because all these themes are prevelant in the movie and they are thought-provoking ideas that stay with you long after it ends. I only want to say that some films get so wrapped up in the real-life consequences of the story they’re telling that they forget to actually tell the story. Moonlight doesn’t feel like a movie about a culture or an issue. It feels like a movie about characters and conflict. It transcends those labels that so many critics use to compliment it, and to me, that is some of the highest praise I can give the film. Continue reading “Moonlight”