"The Color Purple" DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

1/28/2011 Posted by Admin

"The Color Purple"

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

Directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Alice Walker (novel), Menno Meyjes, 154-minutes, rated PG-13.

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

You'll forgive Steven Spielberg for indulging himself on a film as beautiful as "The Color Purple." This sweeping epic, just released on Blu-Ray, transcends racial boundaries to reach something entirely human. Its vibrant performances, rich photography, and brisk pace serve the sentiment in the best way possible. Spielberg's film is painful, inspirational and unforgettable.

"The Color Purple" begins at the turn of the 20th century and follows the life of Cecile (Whoopi Goldberg). Cecile's life is one of restraint and torment. Her father sexually and verbally abuses her and then marries her off to a violent farmer, who Cecile only refers to as "Mister" (Danny Glover). Mister flaunts his love for other women while he forces Cecile to a life of hardship and imprisonment. All the while, Cecile remains quiet.

Mister's greatest folly, as Cecile reminds us, isn't his short temper or his heavy fists. Rather, when Cecile was still a child, Mister separated her from her sister Nettie (Akosua Busia), who Cecile claims to be the only person in the world who loves her.

Cecile eventually finds this to be false. She meets other women, like Sophia (Oprah Winfrey), a strong, wrecking ball of a woman, unwilling to bow to her husband's hand; and Shug Avery (Margaret Avery), a juke-joint singer that brings out Cecile’s inner beauty. These women learn to love and respect Cecile, restoring her connection to humanity.

Goldberg is fantastic as the quiet lead. Despite rarely talking or even leaving her house, Goldberg's performance is transparent. Her few line deliveries are sparse, but when the woman smiles or looks shamefully to the ground, you feel it. Spielberg does a wonderful job condensing her life, and Goldberg puts enough history behind those eyes to fill in any gaps.

Spielberg is in top form here. The director spared no expense in creating a fully inhabited world for these characters. Regardless of the film's length and breadth, "The Color Purple" remains briskly paced and endlessly engaging. It's a testament to both Spielberg and the cast's energy that a story so filled with temporal gaps could feel so cohesive.

"The Color Purple" is an inspirational tale that doesn't shy away from the cruel sides of humanity. However, because Cecile's life is painful doesn't make the film sorrowful. Goldberg never allows Cecile to appear spiteful, and it keeps things remarkably uplifting, even when all appears hopeless.

“The Color Purple” is one of Spielberg’s most challenging and rewarding films.

Grade: A-

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