So I watched For Colored Girls…
A while ago, one of my friends whose opinion I trust very much, told me to never watch this movie. I’ve avoided it since. My wife has badgered me for several years to watch this and I’ve successfully dodged her requests but it’s her birthday month so her word is law and I have to succumb to her requests.
Okay, basic plot: A group of black women struggle to navigate their lives while enduring the challenges set forth to them by the men in their lives.
This movie was a challenge to watch. It has an interesting plot and strong female leads but the way the story is presented is odd. The movie is adapted from a play and I feel that director, Tyler Perry tried to carry over too many elements of the play into the movie. It’s actually a shame because there is plenty to enjoy in this movie, chief among the highlights is the talented cast. Janet Jackson, Tessa Thompson, Thandi Newton and Anika Noni Rose are the film’s primary leads and they do fantastic work. They bring the stories to life with poise, sincerity and boundless heart. It’s amazing to see the black female star power on display in this film.
The stories that each woman finds themselves embroiled in are also powerful and persistently relevant. This film reminded me a great deal of Waiting To Exhale and is a testament to the trials and tribulations women, especially black women, have to face at the hands of the men in their lives. This is a movie made for women and serves as an affirmation of their internal strength and their infinite ability to overcome. The sad thing is that there’s still a need for such movies to be made. Men (myself included) need to better ourselves and improve the way we interact and treat women so that such stories don’t continue to happen everyday.
For Colored Girls tries to achieve a lot and maybe bites off more than it can chew. There are about ten different women whose stories are highlighted in this film and the women’s stories often intersect creating a web of collective suffering and pain. The problem with this is that because there’s so many stories to tell and characters to explore, the time spent fleshing out any single character is limited. This leads to characters being reduced to generic placeholders instead of feeling like living, breathing people. Now you might say this is intentional to accurately depict how widespread and, unfortunately, commonplace these terrible situations are; but it stops us from connecting with the characters. Another element of the film I feel didn’t work was the tendency of characters to break into spontaneous soliloquys. It didn’t match the tone or pacing of the film and felt out of place. It might have worked in the play but it fell flat in the movie.
Overall, I don’t think For Colored Girls is a movie that needs to be avoided like the plague. It can be a difficult watch because of its length, inconsistent pacing and the failure of certain elements to translate from stage to film. That being said, it tells an important story and has great leads putting in amazing performances. I think if this movie was made to be a movie instead of the movie-play hybrid it is, I would have liked it more. 6/10