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Fences | 2016 | PG-13 | - 2.3.4

Drama set in the 1950s about a man (Denzel Washington) who was a baseball star but now works as a garbage collector in Pittsburgh, and struggles to raise his son and keep his family together despite racism and other self-imposed obstacles. Also with Viola Davis, Mykelti Williamson, Theresa Cook, Jovan Adepo, Stephen Henderson, Russell Hornsby and Saniyya Sidney. Directed by Denzel Washington. [2:18]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - A husband and his wife kiss in a few scenes. A husband flirts with his wife and makes several sexual remarks while hugging her and smacking her on the clothed buttocks (this happens in a few scenes). A husband and his wife sleep in bed together (both are clothed).
 Two men talk about one man "eyeing" a woman who is not his wife and buying her drinks. A man talks about other men moving from woman to woman. A man talks about another man having, "The pick of the litter." A husband tells his wife that he is going to be a father with another woman.
 A teenage boy wearing boxers lies in bed and we see his bare legs to the thighs and his bare abdomen and chest. A man is shown wearing boxers and a tank T-shirt in a couple of scenes (bare shoulders, legs to mid-thigh and a glimpse of buttock cleavage in one of the scenes).

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VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - A man and his teenage son argue and fight in several scenes; one scene shows the boy throw his football helmet into shrubs as he yells at his father for dashing his chances of playing football in college; another scene shows the father slap his son in the head, and the son swings a baseball bat at his father until the father gets the bat and presses it against the boy's throat against a fence and then on the ground, and then pokes the boy with the bat; another scene shows the man grabbing his wife's arm and when she yells for him to stop, the boy shoves the man into a fence. A woman slaps her adult son in the face when he says he will not go to his father's funeral.
 A man yells at a younger man who asks to borrow $10. A man appears agitated and kicks his legs toward something he sees (he says that he is fighting hell hounds and he shouts about judgment).
 A man says that he would rob and steal to survive after leaving home and that he once robbed a man at knife point; the other man pulled a gun and shot the first man in the chest, and the wounded man stabbed the other man and killed him. A man talks about his father whipping him, as a young teenage boy, with reins from his horse; then that the man attacked the young teenage girl the boy had been with and the boy then whipped the man (the boy left home at age 14). We hear that a woman died in childbirth.
 We hear that a man went to prison for murder for 15 years. We hear that a man is in the workhouse for fraud. We hear that a man was arrested for disturbing the peace and had to pay $50 to be released.
 A man talks about wrestling with death. A man talks about another man stealing a watermelon. Two men talk about only white men working as garbage truck drivers and African-Americans working as the "lifters." A man says, "When I was in heaven," and talks about fighting off "hell hounds" (he suffered a head injury in war). A man says about another man, "He got half his head blown off." A man says of his father, "I hope he's dead." A man yells out a window during a storm in a rage about a woman having died.
 Two men talk about having "inside toilets." Two men stick their tongues out at each other. We see a man with a large scar on his head and we understand that he has a metal plate in his skull after an injury. A man talks about people pulling their own teeth out with rusty pliers.

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LANGUAGE 4 - 3 sexual references, 5 scatological terms, 7 anatomical terms, 42 mild obscenities, 28 derogatory terms for African-Americans, 1 derogatory term for Caucasians, name-calling (fool, lazy, liar, foolish, thugs, evil, big fat lie, dumb), 4 religious profanities (GD), 1 religious exclamation (Godforsaken).

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SUBSTANCE USE - Two men drink from a liquor bottle while in the backyard of one man in a few scenes, three men drink from a liquor bottle in a back yard scene, a man drinks a glass of liquor in a bar, and a man drinks from a bottle of liquor alone on his porch. Several people are shown smoking cigarettes inside an office building lobby.

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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Job security, racism, family, blended families, dreams, goals, unions, death, judgment day, getting something for nothing, lottery, money matters, responsibility, duty, disrespect, prison, walking blues, homelessness, the sins of the father.
MESSAGE - Mutual respect is critical in relationships.
CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.



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