For Colored Girls – Review


Every woman can relate to some aspect of For Colored Girls

The title of Tyler Perry’s latest film implies that it would only appeal to a specific audience. But those familiar with the play on which it is based, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf”, know that each of the 7 female characters are represented by colors as opposed to traditional character names: “Lady in Red”, “Lady in Blue”, “Lady in Green”, and so on.

Even with a very strong black cast and Tyler Perry producing, directing, and helming the screenplay, this is not a film for a very specific gender of a very specific race. For Colored Girls is for all women regardless of background.

The play is a collection of 20 poems, read back to back by its corresponding character of a color. Tyler Perry has interwoven each story and given each woman a name. Each story deals with the power of women and the life inside of them, and how they give that life freely to their men. And each story shows one unfortunate way after another that a man can “walk away with all their stuff”, as Loretta Devine’s character Juanita so correctly phrases it. The film deals with deep issues that nearly every woman encounters at one time in her life or another including Rape, abortion, sex addiction, infidelity and abandonment but also shows the power that women have when they support each other and lift each other up instead of trying to tear each other down.

Some of the stories work better than others. The story involving Thandie Newton, a sex addict who has issues with her mother (Whoopi Goldberg) is one of the weaker stories. Her character parades man after man through her apartment and its hallways, much to the disapproval of the building manager (Phylicia Rashad), but always ends up kicking him out. It gets very old after awhile and could have been cut back to make room for more of the more interesting and emotional stories.

Like the heartbreaking story of Crystal (Kimberly Elise), who has two small children and an abusive husband. Or Anika Noni Rose, a ballet academy owner & perfectionist that does not give herself significant amounts of free time. She meets a man who is enamored with her and she is hesitant to welcome him into her life. Or Tessa Thompson, little sister of Thandie Newton’s character, who takes ballet lessons at Anika Noni Rose’s academy. Thompson loses her virginity and tells her peers about it excitedly, like a teenager would do, but the outcome is unfortunate. She visits Macy Gray, a back-alley abortionist who is scarier than most horror icons, in a scene more frightening than any horror movie this year. Her line, “Young girls go out into the world, then they come to see me,” is chilling.

Tyler Perry has taken on a very ambitious project with For Colored Girls, and he succeeds about 75% of the time. The majority of the film is powerful and inspires women to guard themselves carefully from men that might try to destroy our spirit. Because the play is entirely poetic, the film delves into that territory quite regularly, but only to some success. Sometimes it feels appropriate and adds to the female empowerment tone of the film, sometimes it seems forced and out of place. Overall though, Tyler Perry has assembled a cast of some of the strongest actors working today, and has written a script that doesn’t always connect, but must be given credit for its ambition. For Colored Girls is a powerful film that will spark conversation among girlfriends, mothers and daughters. Every woman can relate to some aspect of For Colored Girls, regardless of their color.

Director: Tyler Perry
Notable Cast: Janet Jackson, Kimberly Elise, Loretta Devine, Anika Noni Rose, Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad
Writer(s):Tyler Perry, based on the stage play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enu” by Ntozake Shange

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