*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As much as I love Spielberg, I never have been too fond of his more dramatic movie attempts. The drama in his movies often feels very melodramatic. This movie was his first real, straight-forward, dramatic endeavor and though I also have some real problems with this movie, people seem to forget and fail to see that as far as the genre goes, this still truly is one excellent movie. People look at this movie and see that it's not up to Spielberg's usual high standards of entertainment and film-making but that doesn't mean at all that this movie is an horrible one.

There is simply no denying it that this is a skillfully made movie. It has all of the right settings and actors in it, as well as a compelling dramatic story, that focuses mainly on an African American woman, living and trying to survive life in the early 1900's America. She has to face lots of ordeals, such as the forced split-up of her and her sister that she was incredibly close with, taking beatings and rape. It's not necessarily a movie about racism, though it still plays some part in the story but it's more one that focuses on African American society, in rural areas, in the early 1900's and on its women and their position in particular. It follows its characters for some decades. Some things change for them, while others keep remaining the same. It's a good character driven drama with a compelling story, that ensures that the movie is always going and good to watch, even though the movie is being a bit of a long sit.

It really is a movie that foremost works out thanks to its characters and actors that are portraying them. Amazingly enough two of its key characters are being played by d├ębutantes; Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey but what a fine debut it was! Both are truly excellent and its hard to recognize them in this movie, not necessarily because they look different and younger but more because of their performances, that is unlike anything they have ever done since. I truly wish Whoopi Goldberg would had continued playing more roles like this, instead of choosing a more comical career. How different her career must have been but she wanted to stay loyal to her comical background instead, which is of course her right to do. But with all this talking about Winfrey and Goldberg, people tend to forget how great Danny Glover is being in this movie as well. But this is also only because the movie is being a sort of ode to African American woman and their strength and also tells the story from their perspective.

It all combined ensures that "The Color Purple" has something that a good drama requires; some good powerful emotions and drama. It's a touching movie that perhaps goes a bit over-the-top at times but overall as a whole still works out as some powerful and memorable.

Can't say I'm too fond about its last 30 minutes though. The movie tries to desperately to wrap everything up needly. Everything ends well for the 'good' guys and gals and the 'bad' ones end up badly. It feels a bit forced, as if Spielberg was too afraid to that his movie would end on a downer and would leave its audience depressed. This is actually something quite a lot of Spielberg movies suffer from; they desperately try to end on a positive and uplifting note. Even "Schindler's List" somewhat does!

It's far from my favorite Spielberg movie and it's also far from the best thing he has ever done but this movie still remains one fine, effective, powerful 'colored' drama, that by the way still really is missing a John Williams musical score.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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