top of page

The Color Purple     review by Bobby Blakey

Warner Bros has been celebrating their 100th anniversary by digging into their archives and bringing classic films to 4K for the first time. One of these films was the 1985 Steven Spielberg film The Color Purple. In 2005 the story hit the stage for a musical version that was also a major hit with numerous Tony award nominations and wins. With its success producers Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Quincy Jones decided to bring the musical version to the big screen this time starring Halle Bailey, Taraji P. Henson, Colman Domingo and both Danielle Brooks and Fantasia Barrino both reprising their roles from the Broadway show with director Blitz Bazawule at the helm. Can this new take on the classic story deliver the same power or will it get lost in the music?

The Color Purple follows Celie who faces many hardships in her life, including an abusive husband simply called Mister after being torn apart from her sister Nettie and her children. With the support of sultry singer Shug Avery and stand-her-ground stepdaughter Sofia, Celie ultimately finds extraordinary strength in the unbreakable bonds of a new kind of sisterhood.


I love the original film and admit that as much as I was interested in seeing this new cast take it on, I honestly felt that the musical aspect might take away some of the depth and punch of the story. I know the stage musical exists and that was no doubt good, but as a film could it still hit you in the emotions and bring that powerful message to the forefront? The answer is a resounding yes. It is rare that a remake can live up to the original, but this one does just that while bringing its own special nature to the whole thing.


The story is obviously the same with some tweaks here and there, but still getting the message across. There are a couple of elements that I think needed a bit more heft to really bring it home, but even then, they still worked so well it is fine the way it is. The cast had a lot to live up to and every single one of them delivered above and beyond. I love that they all brought their own voice, quite literally, to their roles while still being in familiar territory. A lot can be said for Oprah and Spielberg’s involvement and willingness to let them do their own thing.


There wasn’t a bad or weak performance from the entire cast and if anything, each of them elevated the next. The story still smacks you in the face and feels thanks to all of them bringing everything they have on all fronts. I am not a big fan of musicals, but the numbers here actually enhanced a lot of the sequences in a new unique way while still bringing that heft it calls for. They were careful about how it was all crafted and not feel campy or over produced when it needed to be stripped down and really hit every note to perfection.


I am so happy that I was so wrong on how I thought this was going to work. Both films tell the powerful story in their own way while both being just as effective as the other. In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including numerous featurettes on bringing this new version to the big screen. Witness the iconic film in a whole new way with The Color Purple available now on digital and then on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on March 12th from Warner Bros Home Entertainment.

bottom of page