In “Fences,” Denzel Washington (who also directs) stars as Troy Maxson, a man whose dreams of being a professional baseball player were dashed by racism. It’s something he’s never fully processed, and it’s made him increasingly cantankerous over the years. Perhaps nobody has borne the brunt of this more than his wife, Rose (Viola Davis).
As the long-suffering Rose Maxson, Davis is positively electric. The actress showcases her brilliance throughout the entire film, but is especially explosive when her emotions finally overflow in a staggering monologue, where she expresses how difficult her life has been because of her husband for the last 18 years. When she erupts with, “I’ve been standing with you. I’ve been right here with you, Troy,” Davis vanishes into the character, completely transporting the audience. As tears flow, she continues in heartbreak and rage. In the film’s defining moment, she completely steals the show.
Few performers are as gifted as Viola Davis, who, with her incredibly raw energy, can make any character feel completely and utterly believable. Davis won her first Oscar for “Fences” for best Supporting Actress, and she’s so incredibly good in it that we’re willing to overlook some serious category fraud, as she is definitely the lead actress in the film—and we’re willing to bet she would have won that award too. Davis is currently experiencing a well-earned meteoric rise, and we’re thinking she has plenty more nominations, and wins, in her future.