Fences (film)

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Fences is a 2016 film about a working-class African-American father who tries to raise his family in the 1950s, while coming to terms with the events of his life.

Directed by Denzel Washington. Written by August Wilson, based on his 1983 play.

Jim Bono

  • Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in.


Cory: How come you ain't never liked me?
Troy: Like you? Who the hell said I got to like you? What law is there say I got to like you? Wanna stand up in front of my face and ask a damn fool-ass question like that, talkin' 'bout likin' somebody? Come here, boy, when I talk to you. Straighten up, goddammit. I asked you a question: what law is there say I got to like you?
Cory: None.
Troy: All right then. Don't you eat every day? Answer me when I talk to you! Don't you eat every day?
Cory: Yeah...
Troy: Nigga, as long as you're in my house you put a "Sir" on the end of it when you talk to me.
Cory: Yes, Sir.
Troy: You eat every day?
Cory: Yes, Sir.
Troy: You got a roof over you head?
Cory: Yes, Sir.
Troy: Got clothes on your back?
Cory: Yes, Sir.
Troy: Why you think that is?
Cory: 'Cause of you?
Troy: [chuckles] Hell, I know it's 'cause of me. But why do you think that is?
Cory: 'Cause you like me?
Troy: Like you? I go outta here every morning, I bust my butt, puttin' up with them crackers every day, 'cause I like you? You're about the biggest fool I ever saw. It's my job. It's my responsibility. A man is supposed to take care of his family. You live in my house, feed your belly with my food, put your behind on my bed because you're my son, not 'cause I like you. 'Cause it's my duty to take care of you, I owe a responsibility to you. Now let's get this straight right here and now before we go along any further: I ain't got to like you! Mr. Rand don't gimme my money come payday 'cause he like me, he give it to me 'cause he owe me! Now I done give you everything I got to give you! I give you your life! Me and your Mama worked that out between us and liking your black ass wasn't part of the bargain! Now don't you go through life worryin' about whether somebody like you or not! You best be makin' sure they're doin' right by you! You understand what I'm sayin'?
Cory: Yes, Sir.
Troy: Then get the hell outta my face, and get on down to that A&P!

Rose: Why don't you go ahead and let the boy play football, Troy? He just wants to be like you with the sports.
Troy: I don't want him to be like me. I want him to get as far away from my life as he possibly can get. You the only decent thing that ever happened to me, Rose. I wish him that. But I don't wish him nothin' else from my life. I decided seventeen years ago that boy wasn't gonna get involved in no sports - not after what they did to me in the sports.
Rose: Why don't you just admit you were too old for the major leagues - for once, why don't you just admit that?
Troy: Stop tellin' me I was too old. I just wasn't the right color. Hell, I'm 53 years old and do better than Selkirk .269 right now.
Rose: How are you gonna play ball when you are over 40? Sometimes I can't get no sense outta you.
Troy: I got good sense, woman, I got sense enough not to let that boy get hurt playin' no sports. You're motherin' the boy too much. worryin' about whether people like him or not.
Rose: Everything that boy do, he do for you. He want you to say, "good job, son". That's all.
Troy: Ain't got time for that, Rose. He's alive, he's healthy. He's got to make his own way; I made mine! Ain't nobody gonna hold his hand when he get out there in the world!
Rose: Times have changed, Troy. People change. The world's changin', and you can't even see it.
Troy: Woman, I do the best I can do. I come in here every Friday, I carry a sack of potatoes and a bucket of lard. You all line up at the door with your hands out. I give you the lint from my pockets; I give you my sweat and my blood. I ain't got no tears; I done spent them. We go upstairs in that room at night, I fall down on you and try to blast the whole into forever. I get up Monday morning, find my lunch on the table, go out and make my way, find my strength to get me through to next Friday. That's all I got, Rose. All I got to give. I can't give nothin' else!

Troy: It's not easy for me to admit that I've been standin' in the same place for eighteen years!
Rose: Well, I've been standin' with you! I've been right here with you, Troy! I've got a life too! I gave eighteen years of my life to stand in the same spot as you! Don't you think I ever wanted other things? Don't you think I had dreams and hopes? What about my life? What about me? Don't you think it ever crossed my mind to want to know other men, that I wanted to lay up somewhere, forget about my responsibilities, that I wanted someone to make me laugh so I could feel good? You're not the only one who's got wants and needs! But I held on to you, Troy. I took all my feelings, my wants and needs and dreams, and I buried them inside you. I planted a seed and watched and prayed over it. I planted myself inside you, and I waited for it to bloom. It didn't take me no eighteen years to realize the soil was hard and rocky, and it wasn't never gonna bloom! But I held on to you, Troy. I held you tighter. You was my husband. I owed you everything I had, every part of me I could find to give you - and upstairs in that bedroom, with the doctors fallin' in on me, I gave everything I had to try and erase the thought that you wasn't the finest man in the world and wherever you was going, I was gonna be there with you because you was my husband! 'Cause that's the only way I was gonna survive as your wife! You're always talkin' about what you give and what you don't have to give... but you take, too, Troy. You take, and don't even know nobody's givin'.


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