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‘The Color Purple’ Movie is Finally Out

By Albulena Murturi


26 December 2023

The Color Purple Movie

©️ Warner Bros. Pictures / YouTube

Moviegoers nationwide flock to theaters this holiday weekend. The shared sentiment among Black Americans is the desire to reconnect with a story that has become a cultural touchstone within the community. Over the four decades since the groundbreaking novel was published, “The Color Purple” has evolved from a novel to a film, then a Broadway show, and now a movie musical. Yet, it’s the enduring themes of sisterhood, women’s empowerment, and overcoming adversity that continue to resonate across generations.

Celebrating the Strength of Black Women

Alice Walker, the intellectual giant behind “The Color Purple,” explored feminist and womanist theory. She weaved a narrative that transcended the boundaries of mere fiction. Walker’s foundational message remains clear: freedom hinges on the embrace, love, and support of the Black woman.

The Color Purple Movie
©️ theevilnice / YouTube

Published in 1982, “The Color Purple” follows the journey of Celie, a young Black woman in rural Georgia in the early 1900s, expressed through poignant letters to God. The novel delves into themes of sisterhood, friendship, and family. The characters navigate through decades of abuse, finding resilience and empowerment. It has been praised for presenting Black women as complex and nuanced individuals.

Salamishah Tillet, author of “In Search of The Color Purple: The Story of an American Masterpiece,” emphasizes that the novel celebrates deep and intense relationships. It allows Black women to see parts of themselves in the characters. The richness of Black womanhood is captured, depicting the breadth, potential, pain, and hope of their lives.

The 1985 Movie

Director Steven Spielberg adapted the novel into a film in 1985, featuring Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Danny Glover. Although it didn’t win any, the film received 11 Academy Award nominations. The movie also faced criticism for perpetuating harmful stereotypes, particularly regarding violence against Black women. Some also criticized its portrayal of Shug Avery and Celie’s relationship, seeing it as a threat to the unity of the Black family. Despite these criticisms, the story’s core message of resilience as a form of resistance remains powerful.

The Color Purple Movie
©️ theevilnice / YouTube

For many, Walker’s novel serves as a source of healing, vividly capturing the experiences of women and girls who have survived abuse. Tillet turned to the book for solace after experiencing sexual assault in college. She emphasizes Celie’s journey as an inspiration for healing and empowerment. This inspiration led Tillet to start a nonprofit. A Long Walk Home uses art to facilitate healing and raise awareness about violence against girls and women.

Oprah Winfrey’s Enduring Connection

The Color Purple Movie
©️ oprah / Instagram

Oprah Winfrey, a key figure in the original film and now a producer of the musical remake, spoke to CNN about the lasting impact of “The Color Purple” on her life. She credited the film with becoming a foundation for how she approaches life. Winfrey emphasizes the importance of doing everything one can and then surrendering it to God. She expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support the film has received, showcasing the strength and grace of the Black community.

The Color Purple movie includes stars like Taraji P.Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, H.E.R., Halle Bailey, Louis Gossett Jr., Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, Ciara, Jon Batiste, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, and Fantasia Barrino, making her film debut as Celie. Notably, Brooks and Barrino reprise their roles from previous stage musical productions. The narrative follows Celie, an African American woman navigating life in the American South during the early 1900s.

The Color Purple Movie
©️ Warner Bros. Pictures / YouTube

Premiering in London on November 20, 2023, “The Color Purple” hit theaters in the United States on December 25, 2023, under the Warner Bros. Pictures banner. The film garnered positive reviews from critics and achieved notable accolades, including Golden Globe Award nominations for Barrino and Brooks. Furthermore, it secured five nominations at the 29th Critics’ Choice Awards, with a notable mention in the Best Picture category.

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Albulena Murturi

An enthusiastic learner rediscovering the joy of writing.