The Color Purple

"Very Good"

The Color Purple Review


Heart-wrenching and universally loved, The Color Purple isn't really about the color purple. It's about the trials and tribulations of black women in the turn-of-the-century south, and how they conquered over all the abuse, the poverty, and the lack of anything resembling a life. And it's directed by Steven Spielberg.

Whether this was Spielberg's most desperate attempt to win an Oscar (didn't work: The Color Purple received a whopping 11 Oscar nominations and won precisely zero) or a genuine kinship with the black women of the 1910s we'll never really know. But Purple is a solid enough film, though it lacks true inspiration and gets a little wandering and lost after an hour of running time (and you've still got 1 1/2 more to go!).

It's easy to see why people fell in love with this film. It's got charm galore, it's wonderfully photographed, and the acting is top shelf. The only real problem is a rambling story (the book is actually a series of letters, often written to God, which was clearly a stumbling point in the development of a motion picture script), which careens from America to Africa and back again, crossing generations and leaving all but the most patient viewer a bit confused by it all. Sample the blurb from the back of the new two-disc DVD: Celie's "search for fulfillment in a world closed to her becomes a triumph of cruelty overcome by love, of pain eclipsed by joy." What the hell does that even mean!? The Color Purple just doesn't have the time to recreate Roots, and it really shows as the film unravels in the middle -- its joy eclipsed by pain.

Known for bringing us both Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey in their "big break" performances, we are now reminded that both of these performers could at one time act. That Goldberg has since become a shrieking banshee and Winfrey a self-created cliché is a testament to the poor roles minority women are offered in most films. That The Color Purple has become a classic is another testament to the fact that an audience hungry for these kinds of movies is willing to settle for a slightly-above-average flick.

Whether you ultimately find meaning in the "pain eclipsed by joy," The Color Purple is a good enough film and worth checking out. It is unquestionably overwrought, but it is a truly lovely film with a lot of emotion in it. The meaning of all that emotion is unfortunately still up for grabs.

The new DVD release is fine but equally uninspired. The second disc is almost toally unnecessary, a bunch of reminiscing interviews about the making of the film, with few stories worth hearing (except the fact that they spray-painted those flowers to make them purple).



The Color Purple

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 154 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th February 1986

Box Office Worldwide: $98.5M

Budget: $15M

Distributed by: Warner Home Video

Production compaines: Amblin Entertainment, The Guber-Peters Company, Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Celie, as Shug Avery, as Albert, as Netti, as Sofia, Willard E. Pugh as Harpo, Desreta Jackson as Young Celie Harris, as Squeak, as Old Mister, as Miss Millie, Leonard Jackson as Pa, Ben Guillory as Grady, John Patton Jr. as Preacher, as Reverend Samuel, Susan Beaubian as Corrine, James Tillis as Buster, Phillip Strong as Mayor, as Swain, Peto Kinsaka as Adam, Lelo Masamba as Olivia

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.