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Plot:

Good Fences is about an upwardly mobile black family for whom the American dream becomes a nightmare. Set in the 1970s, Tom Spader is an attorney who is determined to end what he has dubbed “the colored man’s losing streak.” When his winning of a high-profile case thrusts him into the limelight, he decides to moves his wife and their two kids out of their mixed lower-middle-class town and into the posh enclave of Greenwich, Connecticut.

Also Known As: Körbebástyázva, Nowi sasiedzi, Good Fences, Barreiras Sociais, Au-delà des barrières

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  • xavier-albert-bouvet
    xavier albert bouvet

    A moderately decent movie, one that takes a lot of attention to get the full gist of the story since it goes back and forth in flashbacks, few of which really add to the film.. Definitely plays like a vanity film for Glover and Goldberg. Contains some interesting commentary on racial attitudes and the fluidity of racial identity.Biggest drawback is that several different threads are grafted together (pardon the mixed metaphor) without adding to the story. Is this a story about the generation gap? Racism? Class identity? So difficult to tell.

  • jack-deleon
    jack deleon

    It’s a very interesting story. I liked so much the character of the black husband who made it to the top of society in the late 1970s, however hates watching “Roots” or even the idea of making it as a TV series. He tasted the bitter taste of racism himself, but he wants to wind up this page forever. And when he hates his neighbor as she, from his viewpoint, offends the image that he strived to find for the black people, plus how she didn’t fatigue herself making the money she got; winning it in a lottery–he’ll go and burn her house. The man turned into a racist himself, yet out of fear. The fear that his “class” might be harmed because of riffraff such as this vulgar neighbor; dealing with her the same way that any fanatic racist would have dealt with him years ago. The sad thing is that this very interesting story was made so uninterestingly!The script was clumsy. I didn’t feel the subject well. What’s the main theme? is a question that will hunt you all the time, specifically with the idea of the “good fences” that this family was sunken in, and with having only one event that I can remember (burning the house). To tell you the truth, I felt that the movie itself doesn’t know what to say, or how to say it, for most of the time. The directing was so heavy-handed. The pace is nearly dead. Some shots were really not necessary; I mean seeing the vicissitude, the days and the nights around the villa was so provocative with empty repetition as well!The movie seemed eventually like a TV movie that was crushed by the worst new wave cinema. In another word; pointless, pedant and too dull to stand. So with the presence of cinematic stars such as (Danny Glover) and (Whoopi Goldberg), it’d be more depressing. And I knew lately that this was promoted as a comic movie, with a catchline that says: “The Laughs Don’t Stop in This Hilarious Comedy”??? So with that, it’d be surely more and more depressing! But for me, the most depressing thing was the meaning of this story which lost itself through long, very long, 119 minutes!I hated that Variety described the movie as “a stupefyingly clumsy mix of cartoonish comedy, simplistic satire and borderline hysterical melodrama”. Because you can say all of that in fewer words: This is a bad movie!

  • oles-demianiuk
    oles demianiuk

    I saw this movie years ago and thought of it when discussing movies I hated the most. It is a total mess from the beginning. The ham-fisted presentation of the “message” is so bad it seems like like a campy joke. I like Spike Lee, who is the executive producer, as a director, but do not compare his films to this – not even the sloppy ones (ie She Hate Me). It reeks of poor writing, poor acting, poor directing… poor everything.This says it all: when a friend picked it for a movie night, the entire group hated it. We unanimously agreed without hesitation to fast forward through some of it while that person was in the bathroom to get it over as soon as possible.Of all the movies I’ve seen (I have a nearly exhaustive list), I don’t think there is any one that I have disliked this much.

  • vilho-korhonen
    vilho korhonen

    The box description and Blockbuster’s categorization of this film made it seem like it would be a comedy — and what a reasonable categorization with Glover and Goldberg headlining. But it was far from a comedy….sort of a drama, but not interesting at all….just a real stinker. This movie has no point whatsoever, and should definitely be missed.

  • samuel-vicente
    samuel vicente

    OK, the box looks promising. Whoopi Goldberg standing next to Danny Glover parodying the famous farmer and his wife painting. Then you pop this baby in the DVD player and all hope is lost in less then five minutes. Supposed to be a comedy. And I must admit I did laugh once about ten minutes before the ending. This movie has the following elements: A battered and abused next door neighbor, a boring legal trial, racisim, talk of lynchings, and death and arson. Hilarious, huh? No, please, if you never listen to anyone’s reviews, please do here. You cannot even force yourself to watch this crap. CRAP! I said it, CRAP! Whoever put there name on this should indeed sue.

  • muret-mevludiye-yildirim
    muret mevludiye yildirim

    Nothing new is this tired serio-comedy that wastes the talents of Danny Glover and Whoopi Goldberg. Considering that this was produced by the stars and Spike Lee, it’s pretty tame and tired stuff. And how come the Whoop never changes her hair or glasses over the many years this film covers? Blah!

  • gaspar-zatikyan
    gaspar zatikyan

    This movie made me feel as if I had missed some important scenes from the very beginning. There were continuity errors and plots that stopped as abruptly as they started. I was very disappointed because I love Whoopi Goldberg & Danny Glover, in addition to that have always trusted & respected Danny Glovers taste in his choice of roles, “Grand Canyon” for example. I just could not finish this movie, after what seemed an eternity, but was probably just a little over an hour; we had to turn it off. There was no comedy, there was nothing about the characters to make you empathize or sympathize with them, there was no evoking of emotion at all regarding this movie and the clips of their past were poorly edited, confusing, and unnecessary. What could have been a great idea for a movie, even as a drama & not a comedy (although I think a comedy in this situation would have been better, because I love to watch white people freak out & start acting like complete idiots, it makes me laugh) became a waste of my $1 credit at the video store.

  • jitendr-kaale
    jitendr kaale

    I was true to my regard for Mr. Glover and Ms. Goldberg. I watched the entire film with my family and some friends. I have no idea what the movie was about. After much discussion, we all agreed that this was not one of their better efforts.It doesn’t hang together very well. It is too choppy, and there is little comedy. I am disappointed. It could have been much better.I waited months to see this film based on the liner notes.Don’t waste your money unless you are a completist and just want to see all of Mr. Glover’s and Ms. Goldberg’s films.It was a poor way to spend an evening.

  • grigoreva-polina-matveevna
    grigoreva polina matveevna

    I’m seeing a lot of hate for this movie, which I can’t understand- I really enjoyed this. I noticed this on HULU the other day, and saw that it was released as a Showtime movie in 2003-?? WTF?? 12 years, and I’ve never heard of this-??”The Color Purple” co-stars, Whoopi Goldberg & Danny Glover, re-unite, again playing husband & wife, in this Spike Lee-produced, Ernest Dickerson-directed satirical film about a well-to-do African-American family in the 1970s. It’s funny, insightful, well-acted- and I must say a lot of times, the humor is a bit dark/menacing- which I think works for the film. If you go into this expecting a knee-slapping comedy, this is not for you, just to be warned. I would say this is a good companion piece to another satirical look at race relations (also a made for cable film)- 2000’s HBO Film “Dancing In September”.*SPOILER* And I’ve seen a lot of discussion about what Glover’s character does at the end- without giving it away- It just seems to me that his character isn’t so much to blame as society is as a whole- what society put his character through, which would lead him to commit such an act-??

  • wojciech-malycha
    wojciech malycha

    I find myself wondering what the people who gave this a 10 saw in it that I didn’t. This movie has a VERY hard time following and/or staying to a plot. If someone tells you it’s a comedy, don’t be fooled, it’s about 98% percent odd-drama and 2% comedy. All actors turn in a great performance, that cannot be denied, however it seems like it really lost something somewhere. Don’t know if the original script was good and it had to be edited down or what. This had potential, and instead it was really a flop. I would really like the hour and a half I invested in this movie back, but the video rental place doesn’t do returns on time. Save your money and see something else.

  • evelyn-da-cunha
    evelyn da cunha

    There is a lot of undertone and subtle humor that not everyone will pick up in this movie. I found it highly intriguing and I could not help to compare my current situation to theirs, as I am moving to an even less diverse all white neighborhood tomorrow. It helped to be reminded that we shouldn’t lose our own identities within the environments we live in. It think ABCs “Blackish” tackles this issue much more humorously. The issue with the patriarch in this movie is that he has internalized racism, which is something that is not talked about enough and is becoming widespread.

  • ernest-puscasu
    ernest puscasu

    Rarely have so many talented people worked together to make movie that is such a mess. Everyone associated with Good Fences — not just Glover and Goldberg, but also director Dickerson and screenwriter Ellis — has done much better work in the past, and will do better work again in the future. But this pudding has no theme, as Churchill said. It is neither comedy nor drama, neither funny nor moving. If it has any message, it is that all white people are foolish and that black people are racially inauthentic if they value success, accomplishment, wealth, or even suburban comfort. The movie seems to agree with the character in the Robert Frost poem (“Mending Wall”) that “good fences make good neighbors”; its tone argues that integration was a failure, and that blacks should stick to neckbones and avoid brie. But the narrator of Frost’s poem is wiser, and says, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That wants it down.”

  • beatriz-carrillo
    beatriz carrillo

    I like Danny Glover. I think Whoopi Goldberg is brilliant. I thought I’d love this movie, especially since the wrapper specifically says that “the laughs don’t stop in this hilarious comedy.” Wrong. This was painful.We’ve seen aliens meet the neighbors in several forms and trailer trash meets the neighbors. When George Jefferson met Archie Bunker, it was hilarious. Surely the same story could be told in a wealthier community and be funny. This was just sad. Instead of being amused, you feel pain for Whoopi’s family and pity for her unenlightened neighbors.I didn’t feel that Tom’s (Danny Glover) actions at the end followed either from his history (revealed, I think, too late) or from his prejudice. The lighting on Tom’s face, by the way, is about as subtle as the foreshadowing in the 19th century gothic. If you can see it, it doesn’t work.I’ve seen the racial conflicts of the 1950’s-1970’s done as drama (Mississippi Burning, In the Heat of the Night, A Patch of Blue) and I’ve seen it done as comedy (previously mentioned All in the Family, certain episodes of MASH, and any other quality show from the period). The fact that this wasn’t funny has less to do with the topic than with the writing.

  • aurelie-gay
    aurelie gay

    The first 2/3 of this movie is so real and so subtle (OK, so Whoopi looks 30 years older than her girlfriends in the early scenes). It is the story of the American dream for Tom (Danny Glover) an African- American man gone awry. We learn that he was badly scarred during his youth in Tennessee for beating a white boy in a state spelling bee and coming within an eyelash of being lynched as a consequence. He meets and marries Mabel (Whoopi) even though her father doesn’t care for him, gets his law degree, and moves to the mixed lower-middle-class New Haven Suburb of Hamden, CT. When we come in, Tom is struggling to get noticed in his law firm when he attracts fame and his career catapults upwards through his defense of a notorious local doctor accused of nefarious crimes. So, we move on up to Greenwich where the family integrates the neighborhood and we watch son Tom-Too and daughter Stormy grow up while Tom continues to climb the ladder of success and gets appointed to the Superior Court where he derives special satisfaction from giving his heaviest sentences to African-American offenders. Meanwhile, Mabel tries very hard to follow Tom’s advice to become in with the neighbors and gradually changes herself without realizing it by distancing herself from her maid who had been her friend and winds up having little in common with her friends and family back in Hamden. Both children see these changes but react in opposite ways with Tom-Too determined to success but not losing touch with his roots while Stormy tries to become every white man’s fantasy. As we get toward the climax is where I start to get lost. This is why I must use spoilers which I almost never do. Monique plays, extremely well as usual, a Southern African-American who wins the Lotto and moves to Greenwich, having frequent family visits and parties with the very “low-class, chicken-neck eating “N’s” that Tom has worked his whole life to distance himself from. Mabel obeys his commands to keep her distance from Monique. But, when Monique tries to buy the house on the other side of them, where her neighbor was killed by her abusive husband, something Mabel wanted to alert the police to, but followed Tom’s command to ignore, Tom orders Mabel to use subterfuge to delay/subvert the purchase and Mabel anesthetizes herself with a combination of pills and booze and passes house. Tom, seeing this, takes matters into his own hands and burns the empty house down. This is where the film, to me, seems to decide to change course rather than playing out its hand. After the arson, Tom lays down next to his fallen wife, face down on the bed, and goes into a trance-like sleep remembering his near-lynching. Instead of dying from an O/D which is what I was expecting this “American-Dream-gone-very-wrong” tale to do next, Mabel (now acting more like the real Whoopi persona we know) wakes up and takes charge, facilitating Tom-too to do what is calling to him (going to Morehouse College in lieu of Princeton), deciding some good honest housework is what she needs to start reclaiming her own soul, and making great friends with neighbor Monique. What happened to Tom remains rather a mystery to me. Mostly, he is in pajamas and oblivious in some sort of trance the rest of the movie once he agrees to sign Tom- Too’s permission forms. The police have written off the arson as some sort of teenage initiation so that threat is gone. But, it is unclear whether Tom is still a judge, whether he’s had the same type of change of heart as his wife, or whether he can function professionally at all. It was certainly a happier resolution than I was expecting. The two children are off doing their own thing and while we’re not sure Stomrny’s will end up well, that is not explored. And Whoopi is redeeming herself and will be a very different neighbor than the token friend their neighbor’s had before. I generally like happy endings but this one just didn’t quite ring true. I would like more told to me than to try to infer what was happening to Tom. We had been brought so far into his psyche before – and then he’s just marginalized. That would be okay with me if it was explained.All said, I obviously found the whole thing absorbing enough and provocative enough to write a semi-novel about. Please see it yourself and if you have your own thoughts on the ending you wish to share,please e-mail me at [email protected]

  • mugur-stancu
    mugur stancu

    i really in enjoyed watching this movie. like most of the people that watched it. i wasn’t sure that i was getting. Whoopi Goldberg is a very funny comedian and she has done a lot of funny movies; i.e. sister act.however this was not really comedy. it is a drama with comedic moments. so if your looking for a laugh riot then keep looking.this movie is about a black family moving up from a nice neighborhood in the city to an upper middle class neighborhood. i would say more but it think it would spoil the movie. this movie does not just deal with race relations between whites and blacks, but also about relations with in the black community. i do think that it is worth a chance. if your not really interested in see another movie about race relations then this movie isn’t for you

  • miguel-angel-gibert-tamarit
    miguel angel gibert tamarit

    I enjoyed this movie quite a lot. I have always been a fan of Whoopi Goldberg and this movie only emphasizes it. She portrays a housewife in an African-American family which is moving up the social chain due to the husband’s (Danny Glover) success as an attorney. She moves to an all white neighborhood where the people are friendly, yet a little awkward toward her. The various events that arise during the course of the movie make for SOME laughs but mostly appeal to the other emotions. This movie is not so much a comedy as a drama. I give it a strong 8/10. I highly recommend you catch it on TV or rent it soon.

  • susan-montoya-phd
    susan montoya phd

    This movie will not sit well with some, but it is a must view. I am glad someone finally brought up for discussion the realities of HOW African American couples worked to make a name in communities and how many of them felt trying to stay there as “other” African Americans moved in.(Minor Spoilers)This little Showtime film is almost like a Spike Lee Joint…you have an African American male (Danny Glover) who worked his way HARD through the traditionally white law profession positions in the 1970’s. Like ANY American, he moved his family to be compatable with his upwardly mobile status but forgot, there was still alot of problems going on. The only African Americans in the neighborhood at the time was the maids. One owning a home? Wow.Then the blending in began. His wife (Whoopi Goldberg) is told to “get involved” so she does what all the other women in her neighborhood do. And just when the man thinks he and his family are “in”, right next door comes another African American who got in because they won the “lotto” (Mo’nique), and in his eyes and he wants nothing to do with them for he doesn’t want the neighborhood to think they are alike. He, of course is of a better calibre, his new neighbor is “ghetto” not an shouldn’t be there! Who’s got a problem now?What this film shows you is the great pains it takes for this family to fit in, and how they lose themselves in the process. It makes you question where does racism begin and end…and with whom. It shows how no matter what colour you are and how much money you have, you can still shut yourself off from the real world and helping those around you. It also shows how these African American children, when “blending in” neighborhoods such as these fall into the trap of changing themselves to suit the culture (complete with blonde hair and blue eyes, mind you!) around them. They laugh along with the jokes, not knowing they ARE the joke and not knowing..why.But overall, this film is about ‘people’. No matter what race you are, this film gets into how terrible you can be towards your neighbor and toward each other…all for the sake of fitting in..all because you feel you have more money than others, so that automatically makes you better — and you forget the struggles you had and those coming up behind you.Again, NOT for everyone. But take a look and judge for yourself.

  • carole-barker
    carole barker

    This Showtime movie really deserves a far better viewer rating than a 4.5; I gave it a 10 based on the story and the acting of the two stars. After reading the viewer comments, I was surprised at how many folks expected this movie to be a comedy. Yeah, I see that IMDb lists it as Comedy/Drama under Genre. That sure is misleading, isn’t it? Fortunately, I saw the movie before logging onto this website so I did not have that expectation. In fact, based on the synopsis of what I heard, I fully expected it to simply be a Drama. I’m wondering if disappoint at this not being a funny movie caused so many low votes.Another factor that might have caused low votes is that this movie is very much ‘character-driven’. ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ is an example of another character-driven movie that comes to mind. Someone’s previous comment complained about a boring trial. Tom’s (Danny Glover) work scenes seemed to distract from the real plot of the movie. That is, how he was engineering the upward social climb of his family – or his personal troops, if you will. However, they served to establish credibility and justification as his right to move to Greenwich and move ‘up’ in the world.Tom’s obsession became a compulsion. He proved that he would stop at nothing to blend into the white neighborhood. His chagrin when another black person moved next door was not due to skin color. It was because of everything the ‘interloper’ represented; everything that Tom had left behind. In essence, Tom had become an Oreo cookie: Black on the outside but White on the inside.The last 20 minutes of this movie are among the most powerfully written, directed and acted (by Whoopi Goldberg) I have ever had the pleasure to witness. I realized that the climax of the film was not the obvious event that happened next door (don’t want to give it away). The climax is verbal and Whoopi delivers it. I am still not clear if it is the conversation when she informs Tom which college Tom -Two is going to or when she releases it, all in the middle of the night and Tom wakes up. Nevertheless, the denouement is great. You know that life on that street will never be the same.My favorite kind of character-driven flick: people go through problems, some pain, do their dance, they grow, they change, and life goes on. As an audience member, I may learn something or be inspired.

  • ovchinnikova-iraida-mikhailovna
    ovchinnikova iraida mikhailovna

    I believe some of the past “critics” are delving too deep. I don’t believe this movie was supposed to be a upbeat comedy of such. This is a dark comedy/drama and a portrayal of the way a specific family dealt with engaging with the white community in a time when that was not easily done. I believe the scenes with ‘Mabel’ showing the bored housewife over the course of many years shows how more and more depressed over the situation she has become. She has lost touch with herself, her identity, her roots. She makes a statement saying that all she has to do is “listen to Tom” instead of listening to God. The son feels as if he is out of touch with his “people” and struggles to regain that sense of himself, while the sister shows that in the end, she has rejected all that makes her Black. Tom has let the influence of his childhood (almost getting lynched, struggling against white America) influence how he acts in the present. He rejects the things that make him unique (being Black), even though those things impact everything about him daily. This movie has little to do with “racial motivations” and such. It has more to do with Blacks finding their way while not losing themselves in a predominately white world. This movie is a great movie to show the other side of the coin. Black people (and minorities of color) have to deal with trying to fit in to multiple “lives” and find a way to incorporate all of them without losing a sense of self. Danny and Whoopi did a great job of portraying this, even if it did obviously make others thumb up their noses.