|The Color Purple
|25 december 2023
Blitz Bazawule's 2023 adaptation of The Color Purple is a musical odyssey that revisits the timeless tale written by Alice Walker. A departure from Steven Spielberg's acclaimed 1985 version, Blitz Bazawule brings a vibrant freshness to Celie's journey through abuse and empowerment, creating a visually stunning and emotionally resonant experience.
At the heart of the film, Fantasia Barrino reprises her role as Celie. Fantasia Barrino's performance is nothing short of stellar, capturing the character's evolution from a woman silently enduring abuse to a powerhouse of resilience. Her performance of the seminal song I'm Here is a testament to both her acting prowess and the film's ability to imbue the music with profound emotional depth.
The central trio of Danielle Brooks as the indomitable Sofia and Taraji P. Henson as the enchanting Shug Avery elevate the film with powerful performances. Brooks, in particular, shines in her portrayal of Sofia, bringing a perfect blend of strength and vulnerability to a character who navigates the tumultuous terrain of domestic violence and racism. Henson's interpretation of Shug Avery adds a layer of sensuality and vivacity to the story, brilliantly highlighted in the captivating musical number Push Da Button.
Director Blitz Bazawule, known for his work on Beyoncé's Black Is King, imbues the film with musical prowess. Energetic and visually striking sequences such as Opening/Mysterious Ways and Hell No! demonstrate Blitz Bazawule's creative handling of the darker aspects of the story. The film's use of touches of magical realism and imaginative sets adds a layer of visual poetry that enhances the overall story.
Although the adaptation tends towards a somewhat sanitized version of Walker's novel, it manages to balance its imperfections thanks to the passion displayed in every department. Critics claim that the musical numbers sometimes overshadow the dramatic elements, giving the impression of a split personality. The compression of the narrative for the musical interludes raises questions about the completeness of the narrative, but the film's ability to convey the emotional core of Walker's work remains intact.
Blitz Bazawule successfully navigates the difficult terrain of adapting a musical based on a musical, based on a film, based on a book. Despite its imperfections, the film is a visually stunning and emotionally resonant reimagining of a literary classic.
The Color Purple
Directed by Blitz Bazawule
Screenplay by Marcus Gardley
Based on The Color Purple by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, Stephen Bray, Marsha Norman and The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Produced by Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Scott Sanders, Quincy Jones
Starring Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, H.E.R., Halle Bailey, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, Fantasia Barrino
Cinematography : Dan Laustsen
Edited by Jon Poll
Music by Kris Bowers
Production companies : Amblin Entertainment, OW Films, SGS Pictures, Quincy Jones Productions Domain Entertainment
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates : November 20, 2023 (London), December 25, 2023 (United States), January 24, 2024 (France)
Running time : 141 minutes
Viewed on January 17, 2024 on VOD