“One of the best films of the year. What a triumph for Denzel Washington. He is monumental as a former Negro‑league baseball player now collecting garbage in Pittsburgh, circa 1957, and roaring against anything that challenges his authority as husband and father. Viola Davis is his match in an Oscar®–worthy portrayal. You won’t see performance fireworks like this anywhere.”

— Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“Denzel Washington directs and stars in a towering and impassioned screen version of Fences. August Wilson’s dialogue is a marvel — soulful, naturalistic, and profane, at moments downright musical in the snap of its cadences. Washington tears through it with a joyful ferocity, keeping both sides of Troy in beautiful balance. The acting is all superb. Viola Davis delivers a performance of tearful, scalding agony. As you watch Fences, there’s never a doubt that these lives matter.”

— Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Fences is as impeccably acted and honestly felt a film adaptation of August Wilson’s celebrated play as the late author could have possibly wished for. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, along with the rest of the fine cast, bat a thousand. It’s a work of poetically heightened realism, with down‑home chatter, soaring monologues, boisterous drunken riffs and blunt dramatic confrontations in which Troy bitterly and sometimes cruelly draws the lines between him and those closest to him.”

— Todd McCarthy , Hollywood Reporter

“Troy Maxson was already one of the iconic father figures in American theater — right up there with Willy Loman. August Wilson created this complex mosaic of a man out of the found materials of his 1950s childhood in Pittsburgh. Now Denzel Washington has fashioned an enduring, indelible interpretation of this conflicted figure and the family that surrounds him. Fences sears the silver screen.”

— Ben Dickinson, ELLE

“Years from now, people will still be talking about Denzel Washington and Viola Davis’ towering performances in this searing adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize–winning play. Fences is a riveting gem, and the superb Washington and Davis pull off the challenge with amazing aplomb. Bravo.”

— Mara Reinstein, Us Weekly

“The mark of a great script is one whose words and dialogue stick with you long after the movie ends, developing a life outside of the confines of the big screen. The screenplay should also provide material rich enough for its actors to turn in their best possible performances. Fences, about a black working‑class family in 1950s Pittsburgh, is that script. August Wilson’s language is rhythmic, and it enables stars Viola Davis and Denzel Washington to turn in what are arguably the most dynamic performances of their careers.”

— Malina Saval, Variety

“Denzel Washington’s marvelous film of the enormously moving Fences provides the actor‑director with one of his finest roles. Washington gives a powerhouse performance. The heartbreaking Viola Davis is magnificent, and the supporting cast, including Mykelti Williamson, Russell Hornsby and a heartfelt Stephen McKinley Henderson, are first‑rate. Fences is a deeply affecting treatise on marriage, poverty and the struggles of sons to confront the long shadow of the men who brought them into this world.”

— Tim Grierson, Screen International

“As a showcase for towering performances, Fences could hardly be improved. Would August Wilson be pleased? He’d be ecstatic.”

— Catherine Shoard, The Guardian

“If anybody was going to do August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize–winning play Fences justice as a film, it’s Denzel Washington. He has taken the reins behind and in front of the camera for a film that amounts to a great actor’s dedicated stewardship of the late dramatist’s considerable gifts. It’s not just Washington in home‑run form, but Viola Davis, too. Together these powerhouses turn passion, ache, helplessness and regret into the most shimmering of character duets.”

— Robert Abele, The Wrap

“Denzel Washington brings August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece to the screen with incredible performances. Fences is a landmark of American art, unflinchingly weighing the smallness of human lives against the immensity of those living them. Washington, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Viola Davis, and Russell Hornsby are each great. Washington’s immense, lived‑in performance makes Troy Maxson a truly inescapable force of nature. Viola Davis’ portrayal of Rose is a masterpiece. Fences has never been more relevant.”

— David Ehrlich, IndieWire