For Tyler Perry, For Colored Girls marks a quantum leap forward so far as HIS filmmaking goes (compared to the Madea movies, this is like his Citizen Kane). Sometimes, not even a quantum leap is enough, however. So far as filmmaking in general goes, For Colored Girls is often as stagy and melodramatic as bad community theater. Though inspiring at times, the true plaudits belong to Ntozake Shange who wrote the Obie Award-winning stageplay on which the film was based.
In this R-rated drama based, the lives of several women of color (Kimberly Elise, Phylicia Rashad, Kerry Washington, Whoopi Goldberg, Anika Noni Rose) are explored.
Certainly, the play's issues of rape, abortion, fractured families, and domestic violence are as poignant as ever, but Perry has no idea what to do with Shange's often poetic prose. For example, there are awkward transitions between monologues and dialogues that come off as jarring and amateurish. Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier chose to film experimental projects like Dogville on empty soundstages as if the films WERE a stage production and the results still weren't nearly as stagy as For Colored Girls. Also, some of Perry's actors give hammy-off-the-bone performances. Others, however, blow the scenery-chewers out of the water (Oscar voters, take notice of Thandie Newton).
Bottom line: Not for everybody.