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The Bulldog Tribune

The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

“The Color Purple”: A Review


Directed by Blitz Bazawule and produced by Oprah Winfrey, the 2023 musical drama film titled “The Color Purple,” is based on Alice Walker’s 1982 novel. The coming-of-age musical follows Celie, an African American teenager played by lead actress Fantasia Barrino, through her heart-wrenching struggles during the early 1900s.

The storyline follows Celie moving away from one abuser, her father, to another abuser, her husband, before losing the only person she had left, her sister, Nettie. Celie’s story is told with powerful music and a narrative that helps encourage the overcoming of oppression and abuse to discover freedom. 

“[Celie] was bold,” Barrino said on The View, “She was strong. She held everybody together, and she went through a lot of things.”

Released on Christmas day, “The Color Purple” grossed nearly $12 million in its domestic opening. Since then, the film has earned $54.5 million worldwide. Originally, media outlets showed concern over the holiday release date, as many would not want to view a depressing story on such a spirited day; however, this dramatic musical was able to push past the doubt and prove itself to critics. 

After receiving 79 total nominations by award organizations, including two Golden Globe nominations, spanning across all aspects of the films, the adoration for “The Color Purple” is clear. Out of its most recent eight awards, the most notable were earning fourth place for the Women Film Critics Circle Awards’s Best Movie About Women and Danielle Brooks winning 2nd place for the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress for her role as Sofia. 

With a running time of two hours and 31 minutes, this PG-13 movie tackles an intimidating topic, yet manages to keep viewers entertained with energetic musical numbers that leave the audience with goosebumps.

Not only does this film leave an impact on those watching, but it also affected those who participated in its creation. Some notable actors in “The Color Purple”’s cast are: Halle Bailey, who is most known for Disney’s live action version of “The Little Mermaid,” and Taraji P. Henson, known for her role in “Empire” and the 2016 film “Hidden Figures.” Henson spoke on how playing her character, Shug Avery, encouraged her to refocus on her singing and gave her a new found confidence. 

“[Shug] had a powerful voice and she wasn’t afraid to use it.” Henson said on The Oprah Winfrey Show. “And I think that’s how she was able to save so many women because she saved herself.” 

The most moving portrayals in this film, however, were by Fantasia Barrino and Phylicia Pearl Mpasi as Celie and Young Celie. As a young girl, Celie is constantly torn down and separated from those she loves. Mpasi did a stunning job at making the audience feel her pain during particularly brutal scenes. Barrino, acting in Celie’s adult years, made the protagonist’s transition smooth and connected, easily convincing the audience that she and Mapsi were the same person. 

To watch Fantasia re-embody, re-imagine, and re-invent Celie for our film was to actually witness triumph in action.

— Oprah Winfrey

“To watch Fantasia re-embody, re-imagine, and re-invent Celie for our film was to actually witness triumph in action.” Oprah Winfrey said to Variety about her OWN special. 

All of the incredible work that went into this movie helped show the film’s message on the racist, sexist society of the 1900s, commenting on the dangers of overlooking oppression and abuse within society, and ending with Celie overcoming these dangers to show the audience the importance of dreaming and fighting against those trying to prevent it. 

“Time is up when the heart stops,” Henson said in an interview with CBS, “As long as you got a beat in your heart it’s time to make your wildest dreams come true.”

About the Contributor
Stephanie Long
Stephanie Long, Staff Writer
Stephanie Long grew up in Ashburn and has lived there her whole life. She enjoys reading, crocheting, and participating in theater productions. She has been on Stone Bridge's Cappies Critic team since her freshman year where she has had a review published by "Blue Ridge Leader". This is Stephanie’s first year on the Stone Bridge Tribune.