Black History Month Selection
The Color Purple
February 20 – 22
Three days Tues – Thurs
7 pm nightly
1:30 pm Thursday Matinee
2023 — Musical/Drama
PG — 2 hr 21 min
Director Blitz Bazawule’s fresh-eyed remake synthesizes elements from both the Broadway show — where Fantasia Barrino played Celie 15 years earlier — and Steven Spielberg’s iconic 1985 film. A story of love and resilience based on the novel and the Broadway musical, The Color Purple is a decades-spanning tale of one woman’s journey to independence. Celie faces many hardships in her life, but ultimately finds extraordinary strength and hope in the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood.
Screenwriter Marcus Gardley does a fine enough job distilling the material for the screen, combining both Walker’s source material and Marsha Norman’s expansive theatrical book into one script. The filmmaker embraces and builds on what came before, collaborating with Spielberg, Quincy Jones and Oprah Winfrey to update the material for the next generation (all three serve as producers). The music is largely what sets this version apart — that and the way it gives Celie a stronger, clearer voice. “I may be Black, I may be poor, I may even be ugly, but I’m here,” she asserts a full reel before finding the words to put her newfound self-love into song.
You’ll laugh, cry, probably hum an earworming melody or two and definitely tap your foot up a storm watching director Blitz Bazawule’s vibrant take on the Broadway show and the latest adaptation of Alice Walker’s seminal novel about the Black American experience. The Color Purple ends on a high note, a culmination of joy and pain that is gorgeously rendered by a staggering cast who clearly poured every ounce of their selves — not just their talent, but their own joy and pain — into making something that both honors the work it is adapted from and stands alone as its own accomplishment. Much like Celie tells us late in the film, it’s beautiful and it’s here.
Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, Gabriella Wilson “H.E.R.”, Halle Bailey, Louis Gossett Jr., Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, Ciara, Jon Batiste, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, and Fantasia Barrino in her film debut.