Black Women Writers @ Southwestern University

An English / Feminist Studies / Race & Ethnicity Studies Course Blog

Film Adaptations

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After starting to watch the film adaptation of The Color Purple, I decided to look up some reviews of the movie. The first one I came across was by Roger Ebert from 1985. Even after describing all of the negative things in Celie’s life, he describes The Color Purple as “not the story of her suffering but of her victory, and by the end of her story this film had moved me and lifted me up as few films have.” This is one of the first things we noted about the book when we first started talking about it last week. Though there are so many things that have gone wrong in Celie’s life, they begin to look up, and in the end, she is finally able to be happy, surrounded by people that she loves. I feel like so far this feeling of hope has come across in the film.

One specific part of the film adaptation that I noted was the element of humor. I know that we talked last week about how it seems like Mary Agnes (Squeak) is comedic relief throughout the novel, and this also comes across in the film. However, the film also has other elements of humor sprinkled in that give it more of a lighthearted feel. It seems like just as Mary Agnes is used as a comedic relief, so is Harpo and all of his antics. This humor allows us to laugh while we’re watching, and I think its presence from the beginning helps the viewer to see that it is possible for things to get better. So far I’m really enjoying the film version, and look forward to seeing the rest of it. Though clearly it isn’t perfect, I feel like the actors are accurately portraying the characters in the way that I imagined them, which is rare.

Also, for anybody who wants to read the review that I found, here’s the link:

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-color-purple-1985

It’s definitely worth reading, he praises the film and also compares it with the novel, what things remain the same, what things are different, etc.

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One thought on “Film Adaptations

  1. You’re right – I think comedy is such a healing influence, and I reckon it adds something hopeful to the process of watching – while still retaining the “reality” of suffering. Good post, and RIP Roger Ebert!

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