Directed by: Denzel Washington
Starring: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis and Stephen Henderson
Some of the best things in life just take time to make. In 2010 Broadway revived this 1987 play by casting Denzel Washington and Viola Davis as their leads. Since that moment Washington has been asked/begged to turn this into a film. Both he and Davis won Tony awards for their performances and after seeing this film it is easy to see why.
Washington finally agreed to make this play into a film and gave it a very stage like feel to it. A lot of single stable-camera shots allow the heavy dialogue to drive this film. The conversations held between Washington and Davis’ characters are truly mesmerizing to watch.
The plot surrounds one family in 1950’s Pittsburgh and their struggles together as a family and in the community. The father, played by Washington, is stubborn and set in his own mind of how the world works. Whether it be from his age or his color, he has an excuse and a story for every situation he and their family has ever been put in.
A myriad of conflicts consume Washingtons character; whether it be how he raises his teenage son with his demands of respect or his arms length relationship with his out-of-work illegitimate adult son. His selfish priorities cause issues with everyone from his children to coworkers to most importantly, his wife.
An argument can be made that Viola Davis is the true lead in this film as it revolves as much around her character as it does any other. Her performance is breathtaking. As much as you like Washingtons character less and less throughout, your heart then breaks more and more for Davis’. Her glimpse into the role of forgotten housewife who always stood by her husband through thick and thin makes you just want to hug her.
This is a character driven film that will put you through a range of emotions. Happy for them as they prosper and enjoy their good times, then angry at the choices they make but mostly compassion for them as they resolve and stand strong for themselves. I truly enjoyed this film for quite a few reasons but the performances alone is why I highly recommend seeing it. Day one of every acting class should begin by viewing this film. It is well deserving of any award and accolade it garners. If you want to wait for DVD thats fine, but do not miss out on this fantastic piece of art.