The Color Purple from executive producer Oprah Winfrey garners strong reviews upon its Christmas Day opening … remake of feted 1985 film stars Fantasia Barrino and Taraji P. Henson
Reviews for The Color Purple, released Monday, are in — and overwhelmingly positive.
The musical drama, directed by Blitz Bazawule, is an adaptation of the Broadway production; and a remake of Steven Spielberg's critically acclaimed 1985 film, based on Alice Walker's 1982 novel.
It features an ensemble cast including Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Halle Bailey, Ciara, HER, Jon Batiste, David Alan Grier, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor and Louis Gossett Jr..
The film stars producers Spielberg, Quincy Jones and Oprah Winfrey, the latter of whom co-starred with Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover in the 1985 film.
As of Monday afternoon, reviews for the two-hour, twenty-minute film registered a new score of 88 percent on the aggregated review site Rotten tomatoes, based on 121 critic reviews; and a score of 95 percent from the audience.
Reviews for The Color Purple, released Monday and starring Fantasia Barrino and Taraji P. Henson, are overwhelmingly positive
The film's producers include Steven Spielberg, Quincy Jones and Oprah Winfrey, the latter of whom co-starred with Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover in the 1985 film. Oprah was photographed in LA earlier this month
Carla Renata from The cover said the latest release is similar to its predecessors.
“The cast on Broadway and in the original feature film is now legendary, and history seems to be repeating itself with this updated version that combines the musical, book and film adaptation,” Renata said. “Trust me, this isn't your mother's purple.”
Renata mentioned Brooks as someone who will be “hard to ignore this awards season” and Domingo as a potential “double Oscar nominee” for his work in the film and the Netflix film Rustin.
Renata said that in addition to the cast's contributions, the film “works thanks to Bazawule's incredibly gifted direction, an expertly crafted screenplay by Marcus Gardley, stunning cinematography by Dan Laustsen and a score by the incomparable Kris Bowers, who does a fantastic job.” of combining a new score with selections from the Broadway production.”
The APs Jake Coyle cited the cast's “exuberant performances” in adapting a “harrowingly bleak … story of trauma, poverty, abuse and rape” into an effective musical.
“A lot of Walker's The Color Purple doesn't scream song and dance,” Coyle said. “But the emotional triumphs of Walker's novel and its moving tribute to black women's power lend themselves to the kind of maximalist spectacle of Bazawule's stunning adaptation.
'The tragedy in The Color Purple makes the final release all the more exciting.'
Coyle said the film is “one of the most moving big-screen musicals in recent years” thanks to the performances of Barrino, Brooks and Henson, as “each in their own way transforms suffering into thrilling portraits of survival and strength.”
Barrino plays Celie in a remake of Steven Spielberg's critically acclaimed 1985 film, which starred Whoopi Goldberg
Henson, Barrino and Brooks' performances transform 'suffering into thrilling portraits of survival and strength'
Brooks and Corey Hawkins play the roles of Sofia and Harpo, respectively, in the film
HER, pictured with Hawkins, plays the role of Squeak in the film adaptation
Peter Travers from ABC news called the film “all kinds of fantastic films, with sensational singing and acting film debuts from Barrino and Brooks that are worth shouting about.”
Travers said filmmakers deserved praise for taking Barrino's character Celie “from the sidelines, as she often was on stage, and filtering the plot's key moments through her vivid imagination.”
'When she finally lets loose with her climactic aria I'm Here – sung live in front of the camera without lip sync – a top singer is reborn as a beautiful movie star.'
Travers predicted that “there won't be a dry eye in the multiplex” during part of the Celie story.
“I could rehash the annoying moments where the film stumbles too much on its own, but why complain when The Color Purple ultimately comes through with a heart that sings and a mind that soars,” Travers said.
Autostraddles Carmen Phillips singled out Brooks' performance as Sofia, saying, “She eats the screen alive.”
Phillips was critical of the film's musical composition, saying, “So many songs were lifted from the stage production that it's almost disrespectful to the original Broadway fans.”
Phillips added that the cuts were “disrespectful to those with reverence for black theater,” adding, “I find it difficult to imagine that there would be a choice to, for example, remove so many songs from Les Mis.”
Phylicia Pearl Mpasi and Halle Bailey play the younger incarnations of Celie and Nettie in the film
Colman Domingo plays Mister in the newly released film; one critic raised the idea that he could be a double Oscar nominee for his work in the film, and the Netflix film Rustin
As of Monday afternoon, reviews for the two-hour, twenty-minute film registered a new score of 88 percent on the review site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 121 reviews from critics; and a score of 95 percent from the audience
Murtada Elfadl van AV club said that The Color Purple “offers some entertaining moments, but the sum of them is far less than some of its standout parts.”
“Bazawule clearly had a vision in re-filming this story, and he's aided by excellent work from cinematographer Dan Lausten and costume designer Francine Jamison-Tanchuck, but that vision never quite comes together.”
Pat Padua of the Washington Post said that “despite a talented cast and some moments so moving that they occasionally make you forget the 1985 film directed by Steven Spielberg… the results are uneven.”
Padua noted: 'Where the 1985 film built up to a thrilling climax, Bazawule, following the template of the Broadway version, begins with a big production number, which works against the violence so crucial to the source material.
“Turning such a devastating story into a song-and-dance show isn't a deal breaker, and that's thanks to the cast.”
Padua said that “Barrino has a stronger presence than Goldberg” playing Celie, and that Brooks delivered a “powerhouse” performance, “standing even more strongly as the strong-willed Sofia than her predecessor Winfrey.”
Padua ended by saying, “Ultimately, The Color Purple manages to find the balance between tragedy and entertainment. But is that really the best way to honor Walker's vision?'