I worked hard at ignoring all opinions about Tyler Perry‘s For Colored Girls; on one side you have those who studied, lived, breathed, and loved the play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange. On another side you have people who know nothing of the play and on yet another side, you have people like me, who know of the play but may not have read it. I think that those of us that fall into the last two groups are the lucky ones. Why? We are the lucky ones because we could walk into the movie theater and view the movie with a clean slate; we have no real point of reference, so we could view the movie as its own entity. A movie simply inspired by a play.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed it and consider it worthy of my DVD collection when it is released.
FCG didn’t feel like the average Tyler Perry movie. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy most of his films, but sometimes the story line is a bit much (see Why Did I Get Married Too).You know, how folks are talking about Oscar buzz regarding this film and the performances in it? It makes sense with this one; I’d laugh myself off the face of the earth had someone said anything about Oscar buzz and his other films.
My favorite performances in the film, came from Kimberly Elise (Crystal), Anika Noni Rose (Yasmin), Thandie Newton (Tangie), Loretta Devine (Juanita), Phylicia Rashad (Gilda), and, surprisingly, Janet Jackson (Jo). Can’t nobody play a downtrodden woman like Kimberly Elise! Yes, I say this jokingly, but really she does a great job. She always makes me root for her to rise above whatever tries to keep her in the struggle; she makes me feel the pain, the joy that her character goes through and I think that makes her an awesome actress. The relationship between her and Michael Ealy‘s Beau Willie was interesting and I would have been nice to see more of what made him into such an abusive bastard.
Rose’s character, Yasmin, was open and trusting to a fault, so seeing her storyline play out hurt because any woman could be in her place and face that nightmare. Her scene in the hospital with Hill Harper was moving and full of truth, scary, but a truth nonetheless. Actually, any woman could experience what each character went through. Thandie Newton’s character, Tangie, was harsh but likeable, to me. Once her background story was revealed, I understood some of her actions better, even though I suspected her trauma. Tangie and Gilda’s exchanges were comical and one of my favorite moments in the movie involves them. I love Janet Jackson, I’m a fan for life, but her performance in Why Did I Get Married Too was lackluster and it didn’t sit well with me. I was the character she was playing, it was her performance. So when I saw that she would be in this movie, I thought to myself “Uh oh” and prepared myself for disappointment. She ended up doing well, so YAY for Janet! She was much improved, thank God.
Now, yes, this movie has much strife for the women in the film but in my passing awareness of the play, that came as no surprise. I didn’t walk into the movie theater expecting a lot of “happy, happy, joy, joy”. What I hoped for was that the women overcame their hurdles; no, there was no miraculous moment where all their problems were solved, but I left the theater thinking that if these characters were real, they were on the right path to get to a good place. I found myself wishing that each woman, well, almost each woman, had their own movie so we could see their stories told more fully. All the actors and actresses performed well, some were more memorable than others, but that may have been a flaw with the character, not the person playing the role. That said, I think Tyler Perry, like Janet Jackson, is improving but time will tell. I hope that people give this movie a chance and view it on it’s on merit.
As a side note, I must rant shortly about the crowd I was watching the movie with and I apologize in advance because this will be a spoiler if you haven’t seen the movie. I sat in the theater with a WTF look on my face when the audience began laughing as Khalil Kain’s character, Bill, began stripping out of his clothes. Mind you this scene is set up with him ogling Yasmin when her back was turned and constantly trying to kiss her. I don’t know, maybe I’m a bit more intelligent than some of the fools I was in the theater with *shrug* but I knew where this was heading. So their laughter as this man strips out of his clothes and approaches Yasmin, sickened me. The tears I shed during that scene was as much for the rape that occurred as they were for the fact that people found it funny.
Maybe they weren’t laughing at the rape, but there was nothing funny about that part of the movie so even if they weren’t laughing at the violence, I still tempted to ask aloud what the f*** they found so funny. The ONLY reason I didn’t do that was because I saw folks grandparents in the theater, a few of which who know my mom and I didn’t want to be disrespectful. I will also note that audience members found Beau Willie’s bullying and violent temper toward Kerry Washington’s character, Kelly, funny as well. What was so funny about a social worker, someone concerned about the well-being of the two children in that household, being threatened by a drunk and abusive man?
What a world, what a world…
- How Tyler Perry Handles For Colored Girls (blogcritics.org)
- I Blame Tyler Perry for My Funk of a Mood (bigsole.blogspot.com)
- Tyler Perry Finger Paints Over “For Colored Girls” (Spoilers and Video) (blogher.com)
- ‘For Colored Girls’ Review: Was It Your Typical Tyler Perry Film? (urbanbellemag.com)