Monday, December 10, 2007

The Color Purple

"All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my uncles. I had to fight my brothers. A girl child ain't safe in a family of men, but I ain't never thought I'd have to fight in my own house! " ~ Oprah as Sophia

This ultimately heartwarming film follows the troubled life of Celie, an African American woman, as she struggles to stand up for herself and regain the family she has lost. This film has an incredibly talented cast including Oprah as the strong willed Sophia, Danny Glover as the cruel Albert, and Whoopi Goldberg in her breakout performance as Celie Dana Ivey, who will be starring on our own Annie Russel Theater in The Importance of Being Ernest, also has a role in the film as the clueless Miss Millie. Although it didn't win, it was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Leading Actress - Goldberg, and Best Supporting Actress - Oprah. This movie is still great today, as long as you have the patience to sit through it's over two hour running time. I highly recommend it as it is just as powerful a story now as it was upon its release in 1985.

This film, based on the book by Alice Walker, tells the story of a young black woman and the troubles she endures and the incredible women she meets who help her to discover her own strength. Taking place in the south in the early 1900's the film opens with a young teenage Celie giving birth. Her child is taken from her directly after and we later learn that it was her second child and that both had been adopted by a couple in town. These children had been fathered by her own father. Even at a young age she had been abused and pushed around by men. When an older man requests Celie's younger sister Nettie's hand in marriage their father refuses, instead giving the man Celie. Celie knows this man only as Mister, although she later learns that his name is Albert. Albert already has children whom Celie must now care for, she is unhappy there and is beaten and abused by Mister. She finds temporary happiness when Nettie comes to stay with them, having escaped from their father's abuse, but this is short-lived because when Nettie refuses Misters advances she is forced to leave.

With no family of her own, her sister unheard from and not knowing where her children are, Celie is fortunate to find new family in two special women who come into her life. One is Sophia. Sophia is a woman who will fight and won't be pushed around by anyone. This attitude; however, makes her enemies and leads to her downfall in the film. The second woman is Shug Avery, a jazz and blues singer, who was Mister's lover, and is the only woman he has loved. Shug developes a strong friendship with Celie, and is the one who is finally able to help her leave Mister. After she leaves him she is able to set up her own store, and at the death of her father she inherits her old house and the knowledge that he was her step-father and not her real one. The movie ends with a return of Nettie, who we learned earlier had been continually writing letters to Celie which had been intercepted and hid away by Mister. Nettie had been living with a minister and his wife and caring for their children, who were Celie's own kids. Nettie returns to Celie with the children and they are all joined together as a family in the conclusion of this brilliant tale.

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