As a loyal Oprah fanatic, I've decided to dedicate this blog to The Color Purple.
The Alice Walker novel turned film, primarily follows the journey of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), a fourteen year old black girl during the 1930s in rural Georgia.
Celie, "the ugly one," is beaten, raped and impregnated by her stepfather, Pa (Leonard Jackson) and favored over her sister Nettie (Akosua Busia),"the pretty one." After giving birth to a child who is stolen by Pa, Celie is reluctantly married off to a man who she refers to in the film as Mister (Danny Glover).
Mister is not interested in Celie and would rather be with his first choice, Nettie. So, he makes up for his disappointment by continuing to abuse Celie while Nettie runs off to Africa to escape the insanity.
Harpo (Oprah spelled backwards and played by Willard Pugh), is Mister's son and Mrs. Sophia (Oprah Winfrey) is his wife.
Sophia is a no-nonsense kind of girl who has no problem tellin' you like it is. She isn't scared of anyone or anything and will fight to the death if need be; man or woman. This is one of the people who inspires Celie to stand up for herself. But, it comes after Celie advises Harpo to beat Sophia in order to keep her inline.
Mrs. Sophia puts Celie in check, while sporting the black eye that Harpo has given her. And, since this is Sophia we're talking about, Harpo has also been left black and blue.
In an episode of Master Class, Oprah said that this film literally changed her life because the story of Celie was her own and the journey to get the role of Mrs. Sophia taught her valuable life lessons.
This is certainly one of the most powerful films I have ever seen and probably my favorite Spielberg.
It is directing at its finest. Somehow, Spielberg is able to capture the essence of a people and the time in which they lived. He made you understand the heart of every character and told the story from the inside out.
It's not a period piece as much as it is a film about growth and understanding how our environment makes us who we are.
There's nothing fancy about this film - it is ALL about directing and the shot design is very deliberate. There is not a single frame that doesn't need to be there and you will be captivated the entire time.
"I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it." [character Shug Avery]