Last week, I got to see The Color Purple, the reboot of the classic movie and Pulitzer Prize winner book. I have also just watched the 1985 movie directed by Steven Spielberg just so I can have a broader perspective on this story and its adaptations.
I wanted to read Alice Walker‘s book for a while now and I am happy I was finally able to. Published in 1982 and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, this epistolary novel was a very touching and heartbreaking story. It was surprising for me to notice how many aspects have been covered in this book that was published more than 40 years ago, from politics, to womens rights, religion, abuse, queer love, and history. I would say it was a very bold writing for those times and it’s so great to know the novel did not go unnoticed and that it gained the recognition it deserved.
Around 3 years after the publication of the book, Warner Bros. Pictures brought to the big screens the first adaptation of this novel, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring young Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg. I have to agree with Alice Walker that this movie was not perfect and that there were aspects overlooked or rushed. Although the author helped make the movie, she saw it again a few years ago and was still not fully satisfied with the final product, but she was happy for the existence of the book. And so am I.
To be eligible for this year’s edition of the Academy Awards, the latest adaptation of The Color Purple was released officially at the end of 2023, but it has now entered the cinemas around UK. The marketing for this movie is poiting out that this is a “bold new take on the beloved classic” and bold it is. I was worried that some scenes were a bit too bold for this story, but somehow they work in the end. I still don’t quite understand how both Spielberg’s 1985 direction and Blitz Bazawule‘s 2023 direction were able to bring some light-hearted funny scenes on screen as this story is nothing but sadness; it is more appropriate for the “bold new take” than the 80s version though and I know they will be appreciated by today’s audience.
The visuals, the cast, the music, and the dynamic of The Color Purple made me feel all the feels. I am very happy for Danielle Brooks‘s Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Sofia, the strongest and most inspiring character in both the book and the movie. I appreciated that the new movie showed more and dived deeper into Celie (Fantasia Barrino, so beautiful) and Shug’s (Taraji P. Henson, like I’ve never seen her before!) relationship, because this is such an important part for Celie’s character development.
Both Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks have brought Celie and Sofia to life on Broadway and you can feel the force and the passion they both have for their characters, it just transpires the screen. They are truly the life of the movie.
The Color Purple reboot is based on the Broadway musical which is in turn based on Alice Walker’s book. The music is beautiful and available to stream everywhere you listen to music. I actually used one of the songs to create a short reel highlighting the multimedia screening from last week. And the entire soundtrack has been playing in my headphones while I was writing this review. ♬
I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.
The Color Purple is the story of Nettie and Celie, two poor African-American sisters, growing up in the early 1900s in rural Georgia. They write letters to God and to each other throughout the span of their young lives until they emotionally reunite.
The Color Purple is now in cinemas distributed by Warner Bros. UK (whom I thank for the invite to the multimedia screening).