The Color Purple Reviews

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August 18, 2015
A beautifully done and very touching film about the struggles of family to find its way back together.
½ August 11, 2015
At times is easy to think this challenging story could have perhaps been suited to a director with a more understated approach, at others it feels like only Spielberg could paint these larger than life emotions so broadly across a canvas and still make sense of it. For all its brutality at the start it's realism falls away as things progress, the last half hour really strains credulity to the point of breaking the immersion, but if it is taken as a presentation of how things should have gone, then the powerful sentiment still wins through.
½ August 5, 2015
One of most mature opus of Spielberg.Touching story of a wild,unsinkable rose;outstanding score courtesy of Quincy Jones
½ May 25, 2015
Spielberg is blessed with an amazing cast of actors to translate Alice Walker's brilliant novel to the screen. Whoopi Goldberg delivers a heart-crushing performance which can't be ignored. Allen Daviau's cinematography adds to the sweeping power of the piece. Sadly, in comparison to the book, the story has been softened a bit too much. This may have made the movie more accessible to the mainstream in 1985, but The Color Purple could have been so much more than it is.
April 30, 2006
Steven Spielberg's first try at drama works and is truly moving.
March 24, 2015
Went into movie weary of Spieberg's shift and came out applauding it.
March 7, 2015
Exceptionally acted and photographed film, based on Alice Walker book, about the life of a young African American woman living in the early 1900s. Great moments of beauty, and spectacle, are plenty, but film is seriously weakened by its overlength and direction flaws. Still a fascinating journey that made Goldberg an international superstar, and left an impact on the art of cinema. Allen Daviau's cinematography is outstanding.
½ September 7, 2007
Unashamedly emotional, it either totally grabs you or leaves you cold.
February 6, 2015
To sugar coated for me it seems a bit false a bit Walt Disneyish, the film is saved by the outstanding acting.
January 18, 2015
Buena cinematografia , Spielberg no es alguien que me emocione, pero esta vez lo hizo , valen las actuaciones especialmente Whoopie
December 25, 2014
Steven Spielberg perfectly balances the changes in tone from dark and disturbed to light hearted comedy, which helps make The Color Purple an entertaining and interesting film filled with fine performances, strong direction and a well written script.
December 16, 2014
Resuming my Spielberg marathon, The Color Purple based on the novel by Alice Walker is a movie far better than is usually thought. Sad to have found out that it got 11 Oscar nominations, but lost in every category.
Whoopi Goldberg (playing Celie) is a debut performance that is nothing short of amazing. I'm sure it must have been a difficult job - she rarely speaks, dreams or interacts. It is only when the movie ends that you realize the story is not of Celie's suffering but of her victory. Every scene shines with the love of the people who made it.
November 2, 2014
Characters in Spielberg movies can operate in the middle of the moral spectrum, can exhibit nuance, and can hold true to their immutable natures while still going on a journey of change-see, for example, Chief Brody in "Jaws"-but it is more common for them to be characterized in extremes, as most of them are in "The Color Purple." Shining heroes and devilish villains are not out of place in, say, Indiana Jones movies which trade in concepts of good and evil in a world where magic is real and the stakes include the destruction of the world, but in Spielberg's historical films his black and white view of life can feel stifling, arbitrary, and preachy. In "The Color Purple" and in "Schindler's List" no less than in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," the story unfolds through a series of good and evil actions committed by characters who are either right or wrong, respectively. To be fair, Oskar Schindler is a flawed hero in the latter movie, and in this film Celie Harris Johnson (Whoopie Goldberg) has one line that suggests complication. This moment occurs early in the movie, when she suggests, perhaps for lack of any other example of male behavior, that a man beat his wife in order to make her more docile. But for the most part, Celie and the other characters in "The Color Purple" have at most two settings, and when they alternate between them it is with a rapidity that is more in service of plot and message than of truth. Spielberg is not obliged to make truthful movies, of course, but in his historical movies he seems to want to have it both ways: he seems to want to say something honest and meaningful, but through characters who are too idealized and abstractified to connect with.

Here, the film opens with an idyllic pastoral scene: young girls playing in a field of flowers. When they step out of the head-high stalks, we see that one of the girls, Celie, is pregnant. Clearly, something is amiss. The next two scenes reveal Celie's painful childbirth, the cruel theft of the infant by her father, and the statement that her father is also the father of her child. The moral lines are very stark, the villain and victim very clear. If only real life had the perfect clarity that it has in Spielberg's versions of it.

At times, of course, it does. There have been, and still are, women like Celie (Whoopie Goldberg), abused and despised and trapped by their deranged fathers or husbands. There have been, and still are, women like Sofia (Oprah Winfrey), unjustly imprisoned or mistreated by their employers because of the color of their skin. But do people bear their circumstances with the saintly, childlike, often bemused patience of Celie, or alternate between Sofia's polar extremes of unbridled confidence and utterly defeated resignation? Some perhaps do, but for most people, life is lived in the middle. There are monsters in the world, like Danny Glover's tyrannical Albert, but do monsters like that ever change in time for a Spielberg-sanctioned happy ending? These characters are simple when they should be rich, and mercurial when they should be static.

That said, if Spielberg's prime objective is to convey a strong, positive message through raw, uplifting emotion, he succeeds. Many have focused on the film's famous march to a church, a big musical number that feels good and creates a neat resolution for a juke joint singer named Shug (Margaret Avery). Yet this is actually a side plot, and not strictly necessary to the core ideas about strong female relationships. In fact, it works against those ideas: Shug is the film's most complicated and interesting on-screen character (an equally intriguing storyline set in Africa exists only on the margins), but in the church she is railroaded into what audiences in 1985 found a crowd-pleasing conformity that, to me, just feels like conformity. The idea that really drives "The Color Purple," and that remains as daring and intense and uncompromising and subversive now as it was then, is that bonds between women have the ability to weather the destructive power that certain men employ to maintain their position of privilege in society. Celie's different but equally strong connections with Sofia, Shug, and a sister who remade herself in Africa are mutually empowering and healing, and the worthiness of this message makes the film worth seeing and talking about in spite of its many missteps.
½ November 22, 2014
While Whoopi's performance is amazing, the movie just drags on and on.
½ September 26, 2014
awesome story telling and acting just found it a bit long
August 6, 2014
In the film's exposition, we see how tender the sisterly love is between Celie and Nettie when they were running around and playing patty cake. But when Celie gave birth and for no reason her newborn were taken from their father, the atmosphere got dark and the level decreased. It'd gotten darker when Danny Glover's nasty character entered the picture and took Celie, since she's older than Nettie, as his wife/mistreated slave. It gets worst when he forbid the two sisters to see each other since the lazy bum (I'm talking about Glover's character - a representation of slave owners) couldn't get Nettie's affections.

It was just sad to watch with sympathy on what Celie had to go through, while not standing up to him. But when Whoopi Goldberg entered the picture as Celie, her performance lighten the atmosphere at the same time Celie's life lighten up when Margaret Avery entered as the positivity and self-confidence fairy after Oprah Winfrey entered as a good friend who don't want to be messed with (her character married the lazy bum's son, then left him when he was sort-of following his father's ways for a short time until he'd learned his lesson).

After that sad, powerful downer that'd affected the rating to a 3.5-star, the film was progressing to a solid 4-star after strong performances from the main actresses and how things resolved towards the heartwarming ending that was built up since the exposition throughout the hard times. (B+)
February 8, 2010
(First and only viewing - 6/8/2013)
July 11, 2014
One of the best movies, ever.
May 7, 2011
This movie not winning ANY Oscars may be the best proof that the Academy does mess up (but here to say "mess up" is a horrible understatement).

I liked Out of Africa, but it was no where near this movie. I am not a fan of Whoopi Goldberg (especially when she hosted the Oscars), but here she gives what may be the best debut performance in any movie ever made.

Spielberg does some of his best work (which is saying something, of course), and all the actors are superb. I thought at times it may have gone too long, but I realized it ended perfectly (with some tears along the way).

There is a word for this movie, and it is Glorious.
November 27, 2009
Disturbing start, but the rest is just brillant
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