06/06/2017 03:57 SAST | Updated 06/06/2017 10:48 SAST

Unfenced, Finding Solace In Storytelling

Fences serve as a metaphor throughout the movie, the fence Troy has built himself and the one life has thrown up around him.


They say there is a correlation between the books you read and current happenings in your life, that is, it is never by chance. You are either going to find it useful for something that is about to take place or have what you have just read move you from what has just occurred. I like to perceive films I watch in the same light, there is always something I take away from every meaningful piece I put myself through.

There is a moment or a scene close to the end of "Fences" that awakened me, made me see why I had to watch it. In this specific scene, the mentally disabled uncle Gabriel, portrayed by the realistic Mykelti Williamson, arrives home for his brother's funeral. He tries hard to play his trumpet to the heavens, so hard that his four family members watch him hopelessly while also attempting to make him see that nothing is going to ensue; he should just stop and go inside the house. Gabriel tries blowing harder, he seems to believe something will occur. He cannot produce a single note but goes on and on trying and, just as he is about to face his disappointment, we see the clouds opening up unexpectedly and sunrays lighting up their faces.

In triumph he runs out saying that's it, that's it. Everyone is amazed by what they have just witnessed... and that is the power of hope. Gabriel believed the heavens would move and, ooh, they did! Not only in his imagination but witnessed by the whole family while dealing with the loss of their beloved father figure.

At the moment I watched the film, I felt that the scene was important not only in my life but for those who may be going through the same thing. If you have watched the film, this scene probably caused you to smile widely, as cheesy as it may be. It further underlines many subplots being dealt with in this film, the Maxsons are simply dealing with a lot of challenges and shimmers of hope are what they need for saving.

Adapted from August Wilson's award-winning play of the same title, "Fences" is directed by Denzel Washington, who also co-stars in the film with the remarkable Viola Davis and the cast that brought the original theatre piece to Broadway.

The story centres on Troy, the garbage collector who had to give up his athletic dreams and has felt fenced for life since. Fences serve as a metaphor throughout the movie, the fence he has built himself, the one life has thrown up around him and the fact that although he dies fenced, his family is set free. Troy's son, who was just as trapped by his father's bandwagon, becomes something in life and returns home six years later as a US Marine officer.

For me, the power of this film lies in the dialogue, which is rather enthusiastic throughout. It fits in with the scene that has spoken to my heart at a time when it was much needed. Perhaps that is all one needs, to have faith and remain hopeful that something will give one day. Believing and finding solace in storytelling keeps the soul alive.