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“The Color Purple” tickled me pink

“The Color Purple” tickled me pink

“The Color Purple” started out as a book, written by Alice Walker in 1982. Since then, this classic has been turned into two movies and a Broadway musical. The first movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, stars Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey. It came out in 1985, and it was a groundbreaking film, considering it had a predominantly black cast during a time when black people did not have a super heavy influence in Hollywood. Fast forward 38 years, and “The Color Purple” (2023) followed in the footsteps of its predecessor. The movie poster reads, “a bold new take on the beloved classic,” and that is exactly what it is.

Both of us went into this movie blindly–we had not watched the movie trailer, read the book, seen the musical or even seen the original movie. Both of us were a little taken aback when the characters broke out into song first thing, neither of us were aware that it was a musical. This confusion, however, turned into captivation as the elaborate dancing and singing numbers were amazing on screen.

“The Color Purple” tells the story of Celie (Fantasia Barrino), an African American woman living in segregated rural Georgia, and follows Celie from 1909 to 1947 as her sister, the only person she loves, iwas ripped away from her and as she faces horrific abuse from both her husband and father. Along the way, the other women in her life and the memory of her sister provide her with a beacon of hope as Celie takes the journey to self-realization and learns to say “Hell No!”

Characters & Casting

Barrino was the perfect person to do justice to the coveted role of Ceilie, played in 1985 by award-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg. Barrino’s unique voice has the ability to portray the extensive range of emotions that Ceilie goes through throughout the movie. When I first heard about the cast list, I was a little apprehensive about how well the Barrino I knew, the confident girl singing “Summertime” on “American Idol” (2004), could do with playing a meek, subdued woman. After watching the movie, however, I was completely blown away by Barrino’s performance, especially during “Ms. Ceilie’s Pants.” Barrino pulled me head-first into the movie with her acting, and I could barely even recognize that it was her.

Danielle Brooks, known for her role as Tasha “Taystee” on “Orange Is The New Black” (2013-2019), plays the fierce and strong-willed Sofia. Sofia was played by Oprah Winfrey in the 1985 version of “The Color Purple,” and Brooks completely lived up to Winfrey’s legacy. Brooks provided the movie with a breath of fresh air as the strong independent woman, who encourages and helps Celie along her character development. Brooks perfectly portrays Sofia’s wide range of emotions throughout the story.

Shug Avery is a vivacious and charming character. In the original movie, she was portrayed by Margaret Avery. In the 2023 movie, she is played by Taraji P. Henson. Henson’s performance was incredible– her voice and her presence on the screen were amazing. My favorite scene of the whole movie was Shug’s performance at Harpo’s, which the movie would not be the same without. Her extravagant outfits, red lipstick and personality are a reflection of her character. Shug Avery is also a very passionate and expressive character, and Henson really stepped up and provided a flawless execution. She was my (Anna’s) favorite character due to her extravagance and her ability to help others find themselves.

Production & directors intent

Although the movie spans 40 years, the directors and production team really work to make the movie not seem overwhelming. The dates are clearly stated, and the characters look visually older every time there is a time skip. Making a comprehensive movie that contains 40 years of a person’s life is a challenging task, and the production team did a great job.

“The Color Purple” is a movie that deals with a lot of heavy topics such as multiple forms of abuse, racism and misogyny. The movie with a run time of 2:21 combats the depressing and anger-inducing topics with a bright color palette and a wonderful variety of songs. Making the movie a musical definitely made the movie lighter to watch, providing a great balance between the sad moments and those that made you want to get up and dance. The upbeat, gospel music provided a sense of hope in what seemed at times like a hopeless situation, as the characters poured their hearts into the songs and sparked countless emotions in the audience.


Overall, this movie is definitely worth watching. It is a great classic movie with a contemporary spin, and the music and cinematography are amazing. We really recommend this movie to anyone who is looking for a deep movie with a satisfying ending and surprising character development.

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  • A

    Arnita BranchFeb 8, 2024 at 3:23 pm

    No one can doubt that Alice Walker wrote a prize winning novel and Steven Spielberg directed a prize winning movie. If you have not read the book or seen the 1985 original movie of The Color Purple, then you have done yourself an injustice. I recommend that you start at the beginning and work your way forward to the current movie in order to gain a better understanding of Celie’s journey. Whoopi Goldberg’s performance as Celie in 1985 is The Color Purple. Whoopi breathed life into Celie and Fantasia was able continue that role. Taraji Henson as Shug Avery was a bright and shinning star that lit up every scene she was in. Her vocals were amazing. Danielle Brooks as Sophia was great. All three of the women were fantastic as well as the leading men and actors who played the younger character roles. The dancers were outstanding. The music was over the top. I was sorry to see that Whoppi was the only actor who made an appearance in the remake of the movie but she was fantastic. I believe that the actors in the 1985 movie could have brought a level of continuity to the movie that would have expanded the deepth of the story and journey. I was sorry to hear that the actors had to ask for accommodations on set. Hopefully these issues have been resolved. Do yourself a favor and read the book and see the original movie.

  • C

    Celestine HendersonFeb 5, 2024 at 11:19 am

    you describe everything beautifully I would enjoy the movie myself being born in the late 1930s I can relate to a lot of what was in the movie I am proud to say that I am the grandmother of Marcus Gardley.

  • L

    LrFeb 2, 2024 at 8:02 am

    I couldn’t agree more! Loved it!