Genre: Drama/Musical
Director: Blitz Bazawule
Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, H.E.R., Halle Bailey, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Fantasia Barrino
Runtime: 2 hr 24 mins
Rating: M18 (Some Mature Content)
Released By: Warner Bros
Official Website:

Opening Day: 7 March 2024

Synopsis: 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.

Movie Review:

We think it’s pretty clear that this movie directed by Ghanaian filmmaker Blitz Bazawule was meant to be an Oscar bait. The musical film is based on the stage musical of the same name, which is based on a novel of the same name.

The novel by Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction is a feminist work about an abused and uneducated African American woman's struggle for empowerment.  Such themes often resonate with film award juries, and when you include big names like Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Quincy Jones (as producers), you’d think that the movie would get recognised in several categories.

Furthermore, the main lead is Fantasia Barrino who is set to impress audiences in her film debut. She is accompanied by Danielle Brooks in a supporting role. The two women reprise their roles from the productions of the stage musical, and you’d think they would be attending countless film awards and bringing home some trophies.

Alas, the 144 minute movie is only nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category at the 96th Academy Awards. Another notable point is how the previous film adaptation helmed by Spielberg in 1985 went home with no trophies despite being nominated in 11 categories at the 58th Academy Awards.

This makes us think about the business model like behind film awards, because this movie showcasing heartfelt performances from its ensemble cast is a sincere production that is thoughtful and enjoyable at the same time. The story’s protagonist is Celie, a poor African-American girl who lives in rural Georgia in the early 1900s. The film chronicles her difficult life through the years and how she struggles and survives the painful ordeals. Along the way, she meets different characters that make an impact in her life.

There is Mister, an abusive man she is forced to marry. There is Sofia, a defiant woman who marries Mister’s son Harpo. There is also Shug Avery, a showy jazz singer who leaves an impression wherever she goes. These characters are well cast and played competently. Taraji P. Henson exudes brilliance and star power as Shug, while Brooks steals the limelight in every scene she appears in. Colman Domingo is gruff and tough as Mister, while Corey Hawkins portrays the good natured Harpo. Elsewhere, singer H.E.R. shows up as Celie’s other friend Mary Agnes, while Halle Bailey plays a young version of Celie’s sister Nettie (adult Nettie is played by Ciara). This is a godsent cast.

The spotlight is naturally on Barrino, who sings her heart out as the adult Celie (the young version is played by Phylicia Pearl Mpasi). The American Idol winner shows emotional depth as a woman who goes through an incredible journey of adversities before triumphing by overcoming all odds. Her powerful vocals are the highlight of the movie, and you’ll be moved when tunes like “I’m Here” and “The Color Purple” play on screen. Put all your cynicism aside and this movie will have you celebrating the resilience of the human spirit.

Movie Rating:

(A good ol' musical film that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit, made even more enjoyable by the powerful performances of its competent ensemble cast)

Review by John Li

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