For Colored Girls Reviews
"For Colored Girls" is a movie that includes an all-star studded cast. While most of the movies that Tyler Perry write are predictable, this movie had you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what was going to happen next. Tyler Perry was able to incorporate the talents of all of these stars in a positive way. None of the acting in this movie took away from the true meaning of the movie. All of the actresses in this movie stayed true to their character and were able to draw viewers into the lives of the women depicted in this movie.
The cast includes Janet Jackson who played Joanna Bradmore, Lady in Red, who still has not given up her role as a successful, hardworking woman. She is married to Omari Hardwick, Carl, who she later finds out, is living a secret life. She is also the employer of Kimberly Elise, who plays Crystal Wallace (Lady in Brown). Kimberly Elise is known for her role in "The Diary of A Mad Black Woman" where she is portrayed as the woman who always gets into relationships with no good men. Her role remains untainted in, "For Color Girls." The only exception is that she has two children and is in a relationship with Michael Ealy, Beau Willie, who is not only abusive towards her and her children but who also abuses alcohol. Kerry Washington plays the role of Kelly Watkins, Lady in Blue, a social worker who wants to have children of her own but unfortunately, is unable to conceive any. Some would consider her the fixer or Olivia Pope as they call her on the television show "Scandal."
Whoopi Goldberg, Alice, plays as the mother of Tessa Thompson, Nyla Adrose/Lady in Purple, and Thandie Newton (Tangie Adrose/Lady in Orange). In this particular film, Whoopi Goldberg is seen as an eccentric and wild tyrant as she parades around throwing dust and anointing her daughters head with oil. Tessa Thompson also played in the movie "Everyday Black Man" where she was easily influenced by the words of a man and is seen portraying the same role of the na´ve girl. Being na´ve causes Tessa to become pregnant leading her to make a decision that could determine the outcome of her future as a dancer. Thandie Newton has been sexually abused and has channeled that abuse by being promiscuous and having one-night stands to hide all of the pain she feels. Anika Noni Rose, Yasmine/Lady in Yellow, is Tessa's dance teacher. Anika Noni Rose had a body to die for and hips that swayed every time she walked. With a body so enticing it caused men to become intrigued leading her to experience something that would change her life forever.
Phylicia Rashad was the superintendent of the apartment complex that Loretta Devine, Kimberly Elise, and Thandie Newton stayed in. She was wise and offered advice that the ladies did not want to hear at times. In this movie, viewers were able to see her as a motherly figure similar to her character roles in "The Cosby Show" and the movie "Raisin in the Sun." Loretta Devine, Juanita Sims/Lady in Purple, with her squeaky voice had no problem with speaking her mind and saying how she felt. She wore her heart on her sleeve and went far and beyond for a man that could care less about her or her feelings.
All of these women play powerful characters that appeal not only to women of color but to women of other ethnic groups as well. "For Colored Girls" is Rated R due to its violence, rape, sexual content, and language. If these graphic images were not included in the movie viewers would not get the full effect of the struggles that each one of these women endured. Viewers can see the pain that these women went through just by looking into their eyes and reading their body language. The soft lighting and bright colors were able to capture the true essence of each scene. The music playing in the background of each scene brought out not only the emotion in the characters but the viewers as well. The poems the women recited allowed viewers to feel like they were a part of their lives. The lives and stories of each woman were intertwined which in turn, allowed all of the women to unite as one to face their harsh realities together.
In conclusion, "For Colored Girls" is a movie full of drama that will make you laugh, cry, sad, and mad but most of all it will open viewer's eyes so that they can see the bigger issues at hand. This movie reveals the unspoken issues that women do not like to talk about.
FOR COLORED GIRLS explores the nine separated, but interweaving stories of black women going through awful, tough situations in their lives. The first is Jo, or The Lady in Red, (Janet Jackson) a magazine editor who's personality bores resemblance to Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. She is icy, cold but alone. Her husband, Carl, (Omari Hardwick) doesn't give her love or compassion like she wants him to, which leads her to suspect that he is cheating. The second is Tangie, (Thandie Newton) or The Lady in Orange, a promiscuous woman living in an apartment where she brings several men (individually), frequently for one-night stands. Her sexual hunger is not like a nymphomaniac nor is she a sex addict, she wants to find love through sex and attention. The third is Crystal, (Kimberly Elise) or The Lady in Brown, is a hardened woman living in the same apartment with her husband, Beau Willie and their two children. Beau seems to be suffering PTSD from his experiences in the war and has turned to drinking, leading to violent tantrums that has Crystal on the short end of the stick.
The fourth one is Juanita, (Loretta Devine) or The Lady in Green, a woman who serves as sort of a counselor at a hospital to give advice to women on relationships and safe sex, when it turns out that she herself cannot sink in her own words when her lover, Frank, is not faithful with her and she stays with him. The fifth is Yasmine, (Anika Noni Rose) or The Lady in Yellow, a dancer who teaches young girls about how to respect themselves. While dating a man, she is encountered by him in her apartment one night and (SPOILER), violently rapes her, leaving her traumatized.
The sixth is Alice, (Whoopi Goldberg), or The Lady in White, a fanatical Christian woman who is the mother of her estranged daughter, Tangie. With her odd clothing and scary appearance, she doesn't go through what majority of the women go through, but she has the anger lashed out at her. The seventh is Kelly, (Kerry Washington) or The Lady in Blue, is a social worker who you first meet in the film walking up to Crystal's apartment to check up on the children. She cannot have children, which makes her feel unworthy, despite her passionate husband supporting her.
The eighth is Nyla, (Tessa Thompson) or The Lady in Purple, a very young woman who lives with Alice, her mother and also has a complicated relationship with Tangie, her older sister. She is a part of Yasmine's dance school but her world turns upside down when she finds out that she is pregnant. The ninth is Gilda, (Phylicia Rhashad) a nosy and observant neighbor of Crystal, Tangie and Yasmine. She doesn't have a deep-rooted issue yet she witnesses most of problems.
That was a mouthful, wasn't it? And so was the film. FOR COLORED GIRLS was adapted from Ntozake Shange's award-winning 1975 play, for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf. I can understand the importance of the play in that era, as it was about finding strength and overcoming difficult, nearly unbearable situations. That's what worked for it, apparently. As for Perry's version, I wouldn't say it would have been a masterpiece if a woman had directed and written this, but it might have been better.
Like most of Perry's films, FOR COLORED GIRLS is a bit melodramatic, maybe overtly stagy at some points. All of the plots are similar and revolve around a woman struggling. With this, he isn't afraid to be grim with this sort of material and his cast isn't afraid to shine. Every actress, especially Jackson, Newton and Elise, brings a special quality with their characters. The performances were strong, though some moments were a little too overtly much, nothing was embarrassing. In fact, the film doesn't feel laughable, but it doesn't fulfill what it wanted to say or represent.
Perry, while keeping serious and tense enough to bring in the audience's attention, makes this story too overbearing at crucial points. With the poems, they were stifling but important yet I felt as though they didn't flow well into the movie. Some moments, such as the monologues (like Devine's and Newton and Goldberg's) and intense scenes, including Thompson's hospital scene, were overstuffed like a turkey. Some parts, like Janet Jackson's "Sorry" monologue and Kimberly Elise's heartbreaking condition, work very well, though that may be because of the actresses' ability to make all of it sound realistic instead of the soap opera Perry has written.
Think of the movie as an uneven cherry pie. Perry puts in the ingredients, some light and some very heavy, puts on the crust and puts it in the oven. He then puts it in the oven and after two hours and fifteen minutes, most of the crust is partially burnt, the top of the pie has some neat lines and messy ones while the gooey cherry inside begins to overflow to the point where the dessert may be unappetizing. Every piece has a great smell to it, but not every taste is delicious.