Monday, November 8, 2010

Movie Review: For Colored Girls

What a phenomenal movie!

At the risk of ruining the viewing experience for anyone who hasn't yet seen the film, I won't even get into the particulars of why I loved Tyler Perry's "For Colored Girls." But I will say this...I love Tyler Perry.

I love his vision. I love his voice. I love him like I've loved Spike Lee, and John Singleton...and Terry McMillan, Sister Souljah, and Omar Tyree.

I love when artists are able to take a story based on real-life emotion and circumstance, paired with social awareness, and old-fashioned entertainment...and create a masterpiece.

I love that just a few days before the relase of his movie, Tyler Perry sat on Oprah Winfrey's couch and told millions of people about his experiences with abuse, and molestation. I love that a week later, Oprah filled her audience with 200 men who had been through similar experiences with betrayal and abuse.

It's more than just entertainment, as far as I'm concerned. On the surface it's just show business, it's one man's vision being translated on the big screen. But to those of us who were touched by Singleton's "Boyz in the Hood" or Lee's "He Got Game" or any other movie with an ensemble black cast...we know the power behind the production. We know the "real life" story from which the inspiration came. We know the meaning this "entertainment" has in our real lives. We trust the storytellers, because we know their experiences.

It was so wonderful to see all of those beautiful and talented black actresses all highlighted together: Lorette Devine, Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose, Kerry Washington, Kimberley Elise, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Whoopi Goldberg, and Macy Gray. It was bittersweet because it was so wonderful...yet so rare.

The movie is based on the 1975 play by Ntozake Shange, entitled "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf." This has also been adapted into a book.

It's amazing that many of the mainstream reviews of this film, have not been great. Even more amazing...if you ask a friend or coworker who's already seen it, chances are they cried, they laughed, they think it's Perry's best work yet, and they would give it nothing less than full ratings.

You don't realize how much you CRAVE a representation of yourself in the "bigger picture," even if just a visual reminder, until you see it. You don't realize how FEW black women there are in motion pictures...until you FEEL what it's like to see more than 2 of them occupy the same screen.

The best part is that the "black" movie has evolved far beyond the hood tales or tacky comedies/parodies. It's nice to see that black filmmaking continues to grow, and be more inclusive, and more elegant, to the point where the "blackness" of it is just a minor detail.

"For Colored Girls" wasn't just a movie for colored girls. I believe any woman of any race could find herself immersed in the characters and their struggles, and as a woman...naturally find a way to relate to their pain, their growth, and their eventual personal successes.

As for the men...I'm not sure if they're going to walk away from this movie glowing and inspired, like the females have been. The few male characters in the movie, are at best...not nice people. Understanding their role in the stories of the women, it's totally necessary...but the acting was still outstanding.

So here's to the beautiful brothers, who admittedly may have gotten a bad rap throughout this film: Michael Ealy, Omari Hardwick, Richard Lawson, Khalil Kain, and Hill Harper.

What can I say? It's nice to see a good movie that makes you walk away thinking and feeling...a movie that makes you want to better yourself, and uplift those around you. If that's not the goal of entertainment/media, I don't know is. And if that's not the usual output or end result...then maybe we haven't been exposed to the right type of material.

I am a huge fan of entertainment, the media, and those who play a role in constructing it. Congratulations to Tyler Perry for hustling and writing religiously, putting out film after film after film, and now settling into the role of one of Hollywood's best.

Both his personal story, and his fictional story, will be touching millions over the next few weeks. I expect to see a few Oscar nominations, at the very least. And if the recognition still doesn't come from mainstream Hollywood, I will still be pleased knowing that women everywhere are feeling uplifted as a result of his work.

(Here's what Betsy sharkey from the LA Times had to say:,0,258800.story).


  1. I saw this movie with my mother, aunts, sisters, and cousins sitting next to me. Each one with a story very similar to those women on the big screen in front of us. It was powerful because it is very common for women in any family to have secrets or indiscretions that go unspoken. This movie awakened a lot of suppressed past life feelings for many of the women in my family. In doing so in public it reminded all of us of our imperfections and brought us closer. Great movie and great review Stacey. -Tuwanna

  2. Such a wonderful read.

    I honestly didn't "get" the film, although I haven't read the book yet, as many of those around me insist that I should. I thought the movie was Tyler Perry's best yet, and the acting performances of Whoopi, Thandie & Kimberly Elise were exceptional.

    Cannot wait to read Shange's prose & sentiments. Also, Perry's interview on Oprah was a startling revelation.