The Color Purple Movie Review
Many people used to say how could The Color Purple, a film by Steven Spielberg, be your favorite movie, if you were only five years old when the movie first premiered in 1985? I remember where and how old I was when I first laid eyes on this iconic film, I was ten years old, flicking through the channels on my tv, and there it was, The Color Purple, just starting to play. This is one of the best Steven Spielberg movies I have ever seen. I love how this movie shows the adversity and struggles that women endured, and how they were strong enough to overcome them. Spielberg also did a great job broadcasting the symbolization of the color purple.
This movie took place between 1909 and 1946 in Georgia, The Color Purple, is the story of Celie, a young black woman forced into marriage, in a world that surrounds her with cruelty. When the movie begins, she is a child, running through fields of purple flowers with her sister, Nettie. But then the camera shifts into full screen and we learn that her father made her pregnant. She then says that her father will sell her daughter, just as he had her previous son, to a local reverend. Her father told her “she better not tell nobody but God, it’ll kill your mama”, hence why throughout the movie she starts all her stories off with letters to God, starting with “Dear God”. The letters are her way of maintaining sanity in a world where few ever cared to listen to her.
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Celie dealt with much adversity, sorrow, and pain in this movie. She was forced to marry a cruel, unfaithful widower, whom she called “Mister”. To accelerate the merry-go-round misery that is her life, Celie is separated from her sister Nettie, the only person in the world who loved her, by her cruel husband.
The turning point in the movie, comes after Mister brings home the woman, he has been crazy about for years, an alcoholic juke joint singer named Shug Avery, who has been damaged by life, but still has an indescribable beauty. Shugs first words to Celie are: “You sho is ugly.” But as Shug moves into the house Celie obediently caters to her husbands mistress, and Shug begins to see the beauty in Celie, and there is a scene where they kiss, and Shug told her she had a pretty smile, and Celie for the first time realizes that she can love herself and be confident regardless of what others may think. This is the central moment in the movie.
We meet many women of the rural black community that surrounds Celie. Another important character is Sofia, an invincible force of nature who is determined to marry Harpo, Misters son. Sofia herself has had to fight tribulations in her life, with rape and incest with male figures in her family. She has a strong personality and can “handle” the men and has her own opinion and doesn’t let anyone control her. Sofia and Harpo marry, but Sofia’s personality is too strong for Harpo, so he gets advice from Celie to start beating his wife. Some would say why would she give that advice, giving that she goes through the same beatings daily, but you can only give the advice that you are used to enduring. Sofia couldn’t take the beatings, so she left the marriage, but not before telling Celie, “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! I love Harpo, God knows I do. But I’ll kill him dead, before I let him beat me.”
Celie writes to God for much of the movie, but she writes out of despair, but starts to find hope, thanks to Shug Avery. Shug is a very influential person in Celie’s life, a weary woman, who sings kind of like Gladys Knight, who has long since lost all her illusions about men and everything else. She opened Celies eyes about the color purple when she said, “It pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice.” Her contact with Celie redeems her, by giving her someone to be nice to, it allows her to get in touch with what is still nice inside herself.
The symbolization of the color purple to me as a viewer, represents all the good things in the world and stands for independence and liberation. It was always viewed as a color of royalty. The film also uses imagery to symbolize the color purple. The scene where the fallen purple flower petals are shown when Celie and Nettie are separated. The other is when Celie and Nettie run around in the purple flowers and play hand games in the beginning and end of film.
Mister, whose real name is Albert, is an evil man, who married Celie without her consent. He is mean to Celie, but some of that in the movie doesn’t seem purposely, but learned from other men in his life, so it’s safe to say that he continued the cycle for men in his life. He used to beat her, but the physical blows are not what hurt her, it was him refusing to let her see the letters she hopes are coming from her long-lost sister.
The film depicts how women were oppressed and shows the struggles they endured from their own men. Spielberg did a brilliant job depicting the symbolization of liberation of women with the color purple in this film. The Color Purple is not the story of Celies suffering, but of her victory. It’s a great, warm, triumphant movie, and there isn’t a scene that doesn’t shine.