on July 13, 2004
This film received 11 Oscar Nominations back in 1985, won none of them(Shame on you, Academy voters!), and really should have won Best Picture over "Out of Africa." Whoopi Goldberg never got another role like this one, showing her incredible and untapped acting talent by way of Steven Spielberg's inspired and altogether ambitious direction. Mr. Spielberg was not even nominated for Best Director(Shame on you, Academy voters!). It was great to hear that he did win the Director's Guild Award(handed out by his peers), but this horrible oversight still needles me to this day. Back to the acting. Oprah Winfrey was given an Oscar nomination, as was Margaret Avery, but there are so many stunning performances here from the entire cast that pointing out any standout performances is nearly impossible. There is also some clever film editing(certainly the most under-rated facet of filmmaking), that keeps the film constantly fresh and the story moving forward with some fantastic cinematography. The only thing that breaks the continuity is that the character "Celie" is played by two different actresses, while her sister "Nettie" is played by a single actress both at a young age and when she is older. It is really a small discrepancy given that both actresses that play "Celie" are excellent(in particular, Whoopi Goldberg). For those who know only Whoopi's fairly lame films like "Burglar," I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised by her amazing work here. There are many moments in the film that are so genuinely touching and heartfelt that by the end of the final scene I suddenly realized that it never felt so good to cry. This is easily one of my favorite "Spielberg" films. Everything about this movie is gorgeous! Thank you.
on November 14, 2007
Recently I was at HMV and came across The Color Purple.. It hit me and I realized CRAP I don't have this in my collection. I also was very surprised when I got home to tell my my wife what I bought and she never read the book or saw the movie. I had seen the film as a little boy at 8-9 years old. As I was on the subway reading the back of the cover, and to my amazement I remember the story line and I can visualize all the characters, Mister, Celie, Shug, Nettie, and also remembered the Mail Box and to me had it own unique character.
I then realized that The Color Purple meant more to me then I thought. Its part of my childhood. As I recalled the movie in my head I realized that I didn't forget the characters. Usually you remember 1 or 2 at most when you're a kid. But the way that Spielberg filmed the movie, which I didn't know, WoW. You'll learn more in the special features, really interesting about the cast and the other.
I haven't seen the film in 20 years but I knew where the dramatic parts were to come, and poke my wife to get ready. As a man, I think all men who saw the film had to cry. Because Mister was either your father, uncle, brother/ in- law, or Granddad, and you hated those characteristics. And you can also see how Celie can be your mom, sister/ in-law, aunt or grandma. The movie is a must see but very hard to watch as a family. Your drawn into the realism of the characters, and the harshness of the story. The story is very obscured in the sense that everyone in the world of any race can relate too. But you don't think someone will write a book about the sensitivity and then do a movie. The film is fictional but we know things like this happen then and now.
I also want to mention the film was nominated for 11 Oscars and didn't even win 1. Not 1, and I wonder why people think the Academy is racist. This is like the first time Hollywood has made an all African American cast adopted from a African American women who the Pulitzer Prize for the book. Giving an Oscar to The Color Purple was and should've been automatic. Another shame and embarrassment to the Academy. If anything at least Best Picture. I believe everyone who knows The Color Purple automatically visualizes the cover of the movie and sees the shadow of Whoopi on the chair. Reason is when you saw the cover you may have forgotten about it, but in the film Spielberg makes you see the transition of young Celie and mature Celie just from that picture where you anticipate to see again then 2nd time you watch the film. Absolutely what started Oprah's career and Whoopi. Made a star of Danny Glover who also should have won an Oscar for his unbelievable performance.
The film is originally adapted from a book by Alice Walker. The film is about Celie a young black woman, who is abused by her step-farther and becomes pregnant by him, who promptly sells the baby. Celie is later quickly married off at 15 to a man that considers her to be worthless and soon the abuse occurs again. She has become a slave to her husband, there is some joy when Nettie her sister comes to stay but soon is forced out by mister (celie's husband). Celie although devastated by their separation, finds some comfort in visiting friends, but her battle with her husband continues. The only hope she keeps is thinking about Nettie her children and speaking to God.. The film is touching and beautifully done, It is a timeless classic, powerful and moving. Definitely one to watch.. You will remember these characters for life Guranteed
on May 12, 2004
This review refers to the VHS Special Widescreen Edition(Warner Bros) of "The Color Purple"....
Okay, so where to start with this remarkable film?...How bout here...Oscar People!...Did you watch this film???...11 nominations and not 1 statue to go down in the books for this beautiful cinematic achievement of 1985? Yes, the winner of the best film of that year, "Out of Africa", was also wonderful and absolutely deserving of all the accolades it received. But there was so many outstanding attributes to this film from Steven Spielberg's artful direction, to the touching performances, to the cinematography and the wonderul music headed up by Quincy Jones, that it is one that nearly 20 years later still stands up to repeated viewings and a box of Kleenex. One that is still being talked about, as I noticed the reviews are still steadily being written,and one that didn't get the recognition it deserved!
Whoppi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover and Margaret Avery, will touch your heart and soul with their incredible performances in this very dramatic story. Sisters Celie and Nettie have each other to love, and it seems that each other, is all they have that is beautiful in the world. When they are torn apart by unfortunate circumstances they must face the world on their own. Celie(Goldberg) is the main focus. She is forced into a situation of an abusive marriage at the early age of 14 and life for her does not get any easier from there. For decades she hopes beyond hope to hear something of her sister Nettie who's last words to Celie were, "Only death can keep us apart!". Celie's character develops quite a strength over the years and she also forms a strong kinship with an unlikely source. It is a film that is unforgettable and once seen, will stay with you always.
Whoppi did capture a Golden Globe and an Image award, and was also recognized by the Nat'l Board of Review for her outstanding work. Mr. Spielberg did not go unnoticed completely, as he was awarded the Outstanding Directoral Achievement in Motion Pictures by the Directors Guild of America. The music captured an ASCAP(Film and Television Music Award). Just see if you can get Quincy's Jones' "Miss Celie's Blues" out of your head after the film!
I've had this VHS quite a few years. It has stood up to many viewings. The picture and colors in widescreen are very nice, and the Dolby surround sound is excellent.Someday I am sure I will wear it out and then I will upgrade to the DVD, as I know I can not be without this treasure in my collection.
Every moment of this film is filled with emotion, and it is not without a few smiles as well. Highly recommended....enjoy...Laurie
Well, if you thought the book by Alice Walker was amazing, you must see the movie. Spielberg has taken the heart of the story and made it into a stunning and sensitive triumph. While it is not scene for scene identical to the Pulitzer prize-winning novel, the movie does maintain the spirit of it, bringing it to life in blazing colour. One of the scenes that is different from the novel is where Shug (short for Sugar) leads a parade of non-church goers from the speakeasy where she's performing for picnickers and boaters all the way to the church where her daddy is minister, and all the way there, she's belting the gospel hymn along with the church choir. It's a beautiful, spring day, and the reconciliation between Shug and her daddy is not only moving but symbolic of the way Celie's whole family becomes reunited: Sophia (Oprah Winfrey) and Harpo, Celie (Whoopie Goldberg) and Nettie, and Celie and her children.
I loved the way Celie and Nettie reunite in the field of purple flowers, right where the story began. I loved the music, most of which was composed by Quincy Jones. I also loved the costumes, especially the ones Nettie and Celie's children were wearing when they returned home from Africa, and Nettie wearing the purple wrap. I pretty much loved everything, right down to the purple text in the credits.
This was Whoopie's film debut and it was incredible to see her character develop; she ran a gauntlet of emotions through several decades from a scared child abused by her daddy, to a new bride in an intolerable setting, unappreciated and misused, to a woman who comes to value herself as someone with a contribution to make and a rock for others to hold onto.
Oprah's character, Sophia, was also wonderful (Oprah's acting debut also) and both she and Whoopie were nominated for Oscars for their performances; the movie itself received 8 other nominations. The movie, director, and actresses were nominated for numerous other awards and won many. Danny Glover also gave an incredible performance as Celie's husband who beat her because she wasn't Shug.
It was wonderful to see the characters from Walker's book come to life. Even the African scenes, and the way the music and the cutting was juxtaposed between the two continents, the two ways of life, came together in such a beautiful way. I can't say enough about this movie. I would say, read the book first, and then watch the movie. The DVD pictured at the top is the edition I bought and it is a book with pictures from the movie, comments from Spielberg about his initial indecision about making the movie, pages about the actors and actresses, and how the novel came to be adapted for screen. There are also several features included on the DVD which give you a broader picture about the making of the movie. Absolutely amazing!!
on August 31, 2007
When I first saw "The Color Purple" years ago, I was astounded. Now, seeing it more recently, I'm even more blown away. Why this did not win for best picture is beyond me. Perhaps it was because the movie was ahead of its time. Maybe it was because racism is still alive and well. I don't know, but it remans one of the all time great films and for so many reasons.
First, the casting is absolutely perfect. Oprah is incredible and Whoopi is a revelation. Everyone else fits perfectly and the melding of acting and emotions reaches such a peak that it's impossible to forget that this is "just" a movie and not real life that you're watching.
Secondly, the filming, pacing, and directing are perfect. The colors are remarkable and Spielberg's direction is flawless. We're taken by the hand through a journey that crosses the ages and comes out on top. Few other directors could manage this, this well, and it's surprising that Mr. S could work so well in so many genres, but especially one dealing with this subject material.
The movie is disturbing, make no bones about that. And it shows not only white racism, but the bad way African Americans treated each other. The ending, however, makes it all worthwhile. No spoilers here, but let's just say that you'll need a tissue for the last ten minutes.
Hands down one of the best films ever, I'd also recommend "The Illusionist" and the movie "Bright Young Things" for some new Independent films that you probably won't see in theatres. All-in-all, great.
on April 13, 2004
Alice Walker writes in "The Same River Twice" that the movie initially greatly disappointed her. Those looking for a faithful adapatation of the novel won't find it here. The characters and much of the dialogue are right out of the book but take on new form. The film needs to be appreciated for what it is: an adaptation. For the true powerful story of Celie and her sister Nettie, the novel is hard to beat.
That said, Spielberg uses good visuals for the film, and the acting is uniformly good. The actors who played Harpo and Shug seemed to have vanished from memory but Goldberg, Glover and Winfrey are very strong.
One note: I could have used a little restraint on the score. Every scene is punctuated by background music and silence would have been more effective. The score just increases the story to un-Walkerlike melodramatic proportions. The key to the story is that Celie's story is small but in the end, is about life in its entirety. We are so front and center with Celie to begin with that we know that there will be some bombastic finish. (And we are treated to at least two overblown finales, the first being Shug in the church.)
If you loved the movie, and it appears that many do, read the novel and get ready for a different but perhaps even more satisfying experience.
on November 18, 2003
Steven Spielberg wonderfully directed and produced "The Color Purple", which was released in 1985. This became one of the best movies released that year. The only complaint is that this received 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and it didn't win any. That was wrong! Its plot, based on Alice Walker's novel, is brilliant. It digs deep into the events and the characters throughout, while never holding back a drop of emotion. Such substance keeps the audience guessing every future event and double checking every detail. Its layers of storylines keep the chain of events interesting. It proves that there's more to Celie's life than just her own trials. She changes many lives in a good way and not realizing it.
Whoopi Goldberg made a triumphant movie debut in her role as Celie Johnson, a woman being abused by her husband and yearns for a better life. She rightfully earned a Golden Globe win and an Oscar nomination both for Best Actress. Oprah Winfrey and Margaret Avery rightfully earned their Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress as Sophie and Shug, strong female fighters who survived past life trials. Danny Glover's role as Celia's abusive husband is one of the best performances in his career. The entire cast, major or minor, placed every drop of heart and soul through their characters.
The wardrobes and the setting were constructed wonderfully. Every detail looks like "The Color Purple" was actually filmed in the early 1900's. The research and the hard work shines. Its background offers a gloomy look into the characters' harsh lifestyles and the sad plot. This seems to have allowed the cast to express themselves deeper. Without it, the movie wouldn't have the same level of emotion that attracts the audience. Most scenes offer its emotional level through the background alone, whether it's sadness, anger, happiness, etc.
"The Color Purple" is great for those looking for a power drama. Some may have to watch it more than once to understand every event. There's a lot. Once understood a lot better, the audience will be glad to have explored it to that level.
on June 3, 2003
This is such an incredible story, and there is so many things to say about it, and yet no amount of words can quite convey the artistic beauty in this hidden gem. The matured talents of Speilberg shine through with a story that is multi-layered, strong characters and cinematography that will leave you awestruck.
This poignant drama is based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, and the movie has a lot to live up to. The movie is true to the book's diary format, as the diary is read aloud by the Celie, played by Whoopi Goldberg. This movie gave her her big break, and her performance screams, "Give this woman an award!"
Oprah and Danny Glover also star, and both perform as they never have before (or since!)
Margaret Avery's performance as Shug Avery is also worth mentioning, and it is very memorable and poignant.
This movie is about the value of being true to yourself, long-lasting love, perseverance, dignity and how to survive in the face of suffering, pain and loss.
This movie was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including best picture and actress (supporting players Oprah Winfrey and Margaret Avery were also nominated), and it won none. See the movie and you will experience the injustice of that for yourself!
on January 14, 2003
I saw this within the first week of its release, and I was profoundly shaken by its power. Spielberg, after "E.T." proved himself as a director to be reckoned with. Too bad the Academy didn't think so. There's little to be known about the plight of rural Black landowners during the depression, so we're relying on Alice Walker's novel as the basis of the riveting narrative of Celie's journey through a remarkable life. I remember protests against the film because of Danny Glover's wonderfully centered mean guy (even though he's the ultimate, sad hero). I've seen nastier people in White-centered films, and Danny's nastiness doesn't even come close. Still, he was deserving of a nomination, showing many layers of a complicated character. I really think this is a women-driven film, since the best characters (and acting) came from the many fine women's roles. Whoopi was certainly wonderful, though she didn't show up until a half hour into the film. Celie's young character, played with wonderful strength and pathos by Desreta Jackson was appealing. Akosua Busia was confident, as was Dana Ivey, in a bit of inspired casting, as the rich white woman, a grand display of idiocy and ignorance. Rae Dawn Chong's character should've been developed more, since she figured significantly in the final outcome. Oprah, of course, was the most memorable character, since she had the showiest role...or did she? I wanna know what happened to Margaret Avery (Shug). To me, she gave the best performance in the film. Trashy, sweet, soft, sensitive...she had to do it all. Her final scene with her father brought tears, her strength of character made Celie the strong character that she became. Her career should've taken off after this film. The women are the driving force in this film, and there's not a weak one in the bunch. Larry Fishburne (Swain) had one of his first roles, and Willard Pugh was delightful as Harpo...and whatever happened to him? I loved Avery the most, but Glover, after a great role the previous year in "Places in the Heart", showed great versatility. Overall, this is a film of passion, warmth and emotion. It's always been one of my favorites. The DVD version is lacking in too many ways; I'm sure an anniversary version will be coming out soon. Commentaries would be nice, since most of those involved are still around. I was a bit annoyed that I had to turn the disc over during Celie's most life-affirming scene. There was also protest that this film was nominated for 11 Oscars and won nothing, suggesting anti-Black behavior from the Academy. 8 years earlier, "The Turning Point" was also nominated for 11 Oscars and won nothing. As one critic said, "Does this mean the Academy is anti-tutu?" The whole argument is silly, and no one can explain why Spielberg won the Directors Guild award though no Oscar nomination...this is a great argument for people to ignore awards and critics. This film is a delight...sad, humorous, insightful...and very powerful. You should see this, and have tissues handy. When Shug hugs her father at the end, the power of the music and the moment can't help but take you away. Then, of course, there's the final moment when Celie sees her kids... Then there's Oprah, snapping out of her funk and announcing that she's home again. See it. Love it. It's worth it.
on May 13, 2002
"The Color Purple" has so many messages, moral and otherwise, that they blur together into what can only be described as wisdom. As an Australian I can't claim to know a lot about the black experience in the south, in the early 20th century. Despite that, I get a strong sense of realism from this film, in the same way we are forced to believe someone when they admit a degrading fact about themselves.
The heart of this movie is a woman named Celie. Woopie Goldberg was cast in the role and it represents her first cinematic outing. She was nominated for an Academy Award and, in my opinion, should have won it. Celie doesn't get to talk much, is subservient to many of the larger powers in her life and yet still manages to communicate depths of emotion few of us ever see in our own lives.
Our sympathies go out to Celie from the start, when we see her as a child playing in a meadow with her sister, Nettie. Hidden at first, her pregnancy is soon revealed, as the result of an incestuous rape. Celie, still a child, is soon separated from her own offspring, for the second time and then torn apart from her sister, as Celie is consigned to her new husband. Married life becomes another form of servitude, including the same chores, sexual abuse and mental anguish but without her sister's love. Nettie somehow gets shipped of to Africa, as a nanny to some missionaries. We only see enough of her life to know that it is a rich and fulfilling one, in stark contrast to Celie's.
Celie has a strange and extended family. Her husband, Albert, called only "Mister" by Celie, is a petty and deliberately cruel man. He seems to sense that there is more value in Celie than he will ever possess and thus never stints in holding his power over her. Albert's mistress, Shug Avery, is a degraded yet stylish club singer who eventually loves Celie more than Albert. He was never more than a passing convenience to Shug. Albert has a son from a previous marriage, Harpo. For some reason, the strongest character in the film, Sofia, played very convincingly by Oprah Winfrey, decides she is going to marry Harpo and does just that. In many ways, Sofia's rude awakening to the realities of her world, at the hands of the local mayor, his wife and the police, is sadder than Celie's plight. After all, Celie never had hopes or expectations to lose.
As the story progresses, Celie starts to emerge from her cocoon. Helped in part by her husband's mistress. She becomes aware of her own inner beauty and her own power. This transformation is so gradual that we almost believe nothing is changing but by the end of the film, Celie is a woman in control of her own destiny and a force for good in her community. We are not asked to believe that patience is all that is required to overcome evil. Celie has her fair share of confrontations and setbacks. Instead we learn that even the palest plant, deprived of sunlight all its life, may eventually blossom into something special. All it may need is a little encouragement.
I don't watch The Color Purple as regularly as some of the other films in my collection. It is hard going in spots. But, if you ever start feeling a little sorry for yourself, I recommend this movie. Not only will it put your troubles into proper perspective but it will also lift up your heart as few films can.