Writer: Menno Meyjes (Screenplay) Alice Walker (Novel)
Starring: Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Avery, Oprah Winfrey, Willard E Pugh, Akosua Busia, Desreat Jackson
Plot: A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades.
Tagline – It’s about life. It’s about love. It’s about us.
Runtime: 2 Hours 34 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: The Color Purple starts when teenage Celie Johnson (Jackson) who gets sold by her abusive father who has given up their child before giving her to Albert (Glover) who was interested in her younger sister Nettie, stuck having to help raise his three children in 1909.
With Celie (Goldberg) now grown up, she is still living with the abuse, she sees the eldest child Harpo get married to Sofia (Winfrey) who won’t take any sort of abuse, this shows Celie that she can fight back against Mister’s behaviour. We continue to see the years of household abuse that Celie lived through due to her husband and seeing the different people that comes into her family life.
Thoughts on The Color Purple
Characters – Celie Johnson was abused by her father, who fathered a child with her, one they gave up, she is sent to marry Albert and help raise his children, she is constantly abused by him who doesn’t want to let her have her own life, she sees people come and go from her life including Sofia and Shug, both offer her a new way of looking at life too, we follow four decades of her abuse which keeps her in maid like conditions in the home. Albert is the man that takes Celie to be his wife after his first wife died, he wants someone to raise his kids and do the housework for him, not letting her communicate with her sister and even meeting other women on the side. Shug Avery is one of the ladies that Albert starts sleeping with, he even lets her stay at their home, she is a singer and entertainer that isn’t going to let any man walk over her, she helps Celie breakout of the shell, even tempting her to leave. Sofia becomes the wife to one of the children, she won’t let any man or woman of any race walk over her and gets tired of how Harpo treats her, she does have a better chance of life than Celie and tries to prove to her she can have more, but at a cost.
Performances – Whoopi Goldberg gives us a truly fantastic performance that is up there with the very best by anybody in acting history. Danny Glover gives us a truly evil father figure that makes you hate him through each action he puts Celie through. Oprah Winfrey is stunning too, showing us how somebody can recover from being broken and Margaret Avery is wonderful through the film too.
Story – The story follows the life of young teenage girl Celie over four decades of her life, from her forced marriage and years of abuse that she suffered at the hands of the men in her life during the early 1900s. This movie shows us just how a woman was held back from her life by her controlling husband, Celie doesn’t seem to ever get mistreated by any white Americans, which is only seen against Sofia, showing that the world may have changed, but it hadn’t moved on with the acceptance of women in the family household, we do see how some of the other women do get their freedom, but due to the abuse Celie struggled to get that freedom. We don’t seem to focus on any of the real-life events which could have been going on at the same time, which might only continues to show how little Celie was allowed to see more of the world. The struggles that she goes through are very real and one that nobody should have ever seen put through.
Settings – The film does use the settings wonderfully to show how even after the end of slavery, not everything was equal when it comes to living conditions the character find themselves in. the farmhouse and open countryside, show the opposite of the peace Celie was living.
Final Thoughts – This is truly a wonderful film that must be watch by all, it brings us a truly brilliant story, stunning performances and a reflection of life.
Overall: Easily in Spielberg’s top five films.