“The Color Purple” checked off everything needed to be considered a “good movie.”
Full theater filled with Black people – check.
The current version is a remake of the 1985 version. This version stars Fantasia Barrino (Celie), Taraji P. Henson (Shug Avery) and Colman Domingo (Mister.) Both versions are based on the book discussing the tale of two sisters battling misogyny, abuse and sisterhood all the while being separated for the majority of their lives in the early 1900s.
Celie stays with her abusive husband while her sister Nettie gets kicked out after her father tries to touch her inappropriately. Nettie seeks shelter with her sister and brother-in-law, but bad luck doesn’t escape her after that. She is kicked out after her brother-in-law’s futile attempt to rape her as well. The sisters promise to stay in touch with each other but to no avail.
It is a musical, and while I’m not the biggest musical fan, especially not with movies, this one hooked me. However, it was not like any other musical I was dragged into watching. They all seamlessly transitioned into the songs. They were all purposeful, colorful and made the movie more exciting to watch.
The film centered on how Celie endured her husband’s abuse. At one point, I even forgot she was acting, especially when her husband was being so violent. Fantasia, simply put, gave her character her all.
It was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen, and it easily reached the top of my “favorite movies” list.
It was like the audience was there in the setting, there when it happened and was almost feeling what she was feeling though it was impossible since it was fiction. It is largely about loss and pain and societal pressure on women to endure both, no matter how severe and incomparable it is, and the producers, which include original cast member Oprah Winfrey, did it with their talented actors seamlessly.
Nettie’s younger self was briefly played by Halle Bailey. While marketing has a purpose and putting a well-known face to a movie like this will be great for clicks, she was barely in the movie. It felt like she was put there solely because she is famous.
That isn’t to say she didn’t do well. She did. But why put her promoting the movie in every social media site over another actor who was in the movie longer?
It left me wanting to listen to the playlist on the ride home. It made me excited for the first time in a while to see a movie with a mostly Black cast that touched on the sensitive topic of familial abuse in the Black community. One that is taboo at least from what I see in my community and I’m glad it was showcased in a beautifully curated movie.