Film | The Color Purple – Review

The Color Purple film review
The Color Purple (1985)

Plot – A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades – The Color Purple.

Director – Steven Spielberg

Starring – Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey

Genre – Drama

Released – 1985

The Color Purple (1985)

There’s no denying that The Color Purple is a skilfully made movie that contains all the right elements to make it great, from the rich settings, talented actors and a uniquely compelling story focusing on the lived experiences of African American woman, fighting to survive life in early 1900s America and the long list of ordeals they faced.

Including rape, beatings, forced separation from family, forced servitude and racism. Though this isn’t as much of a focal point as other films set during this period, the movie focuses more on the issues within the rural African American community. Following character for decades and journeys, each of them goes on.

Whoopi Goldberg, Rae Dawn Chong, and Margaret Avery in The Color Purple (1985)

The Color Purple is a movie that works out mostly because of the characters and skill of the actors portraying them. Especially that of debutantes; Goldberg and Winfrey, both of whom were outstanding and almost unrecognisable from their later work and truly made me wish that Whoopi Goldberg had done more serious work over the years, rather than focusing on more comical productions. Danny Glover also impressed me as the misogynistic and flawed man of his time, though.

The only real downside to the movie is Spielberg’s desperation to wrap everything up in a neat little bow by the end of the film, causing the final 30 minutes to feel rushed as various storylines get concluded, not producing the emotional payoff deserving of story arcs that took the entire runtime and decades in film to develop. It’s almost as though Spielberg was afraid to let the film end on a downer when in reality it would have been more authentic to the lives of these women if the ending was bittersweet.

Oprah Winfrey and Willard E. Pugh in The Color Purple (1985)

Despite its limitations, The Color Purple remains a memorable piece of cinema that powerfully explores the unique issues faced by African American women during the turn of the century. Anchored by the beautiful and touching performances of Goldberg, Glover and Winfrey.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

If you liked: The Butler, 12 Years a Slave, Amistad


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