The Color Purple 2023

The COLOR Purple 

The Color Purple tells the story of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), a young woman growing up in an environment full of abuse and disappointment, particularly exacerbated by her being forcibly separated from the person she loves the most, her younger sister Nettie (Akosua Harris). After the novel became a massive success, Walker was given the offer to make it into a film by producers Jon Peters and Peter Gruber, and she was hesitant to do so, suspicious of how Hollywood tended to portray women and people of color. But after consulting with some of her female friends, who convinced her that the best way to ensure a satisfactory depiction would be to "work within the system." She became a creative consultant on the film, which included approval of the director and script, coaching the actors on how to deliver certain lines, aiding in the casting of actors, and ensuring that "fifty percent of the production team...would be African American, female, or 'people of the Third World.'” She was also instrumental in getting Whoopi Goldberg her big break, as Goldberg fought to get the role and Walker and Spielberg approved her after seeing her stand-up performance (the most infamous joke being a scenario where E.T. gets arrested for having marijuana). Credit can't fully go to her though, as producer Quincy Jones was the one who got Spielberg on board to direct and campaigned for a then-unknown Oprah Winfrey for the pivotal role of Sofia, a close ally of Celie's.

As for the film itself, while it has shown its age—most notably in the nuances of how some of the social politics have dated—is still an expertly made film. Spielberg's touch with actors is on point, and every actor's performance is wonderful, particularly Goldberg, in a role that showcases the incredible range she has, and makes it hard to fathom she didn't win the Oscar for it. Allen Daviau's cinematography makes itself expressive without being intrusive, using slow push-ins and diverse angles at just the right times, across several different moods.

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