Movie Talk,  MovieMuse Reviews by Erin

The Color Purple

The Color Purple (2023) – I thought it was spectacular! Every single element was pitch perfect, no pun intended, though each and every person’s voice *was* in fact beyond amazing. The cast, the music, the lyrics, the vocal performances, the choreography, the dance performances, the sets, the details put into the set dressings, the costumes… it was all perfection. Truly one of the best stage to movie adaptations I have ever seen. For years, I just could not imagine how such a story would translate into a musical. That can’t possibly work, can it? Oh yes, it absolutely can! I’ve only seen the original film adaptation once, probably in the late 1980s or early 1990s, so at least 25 years ago. I honestly don’t recall much about it beyond the general broad strokes of the story, so I can’t really compare this one to that.

I will say that I found the ending to be a little too neatly tied up, given the harshness of many of the events of the film (and yes, the irony of saying that after also seeing American Fiction is not lost on me! IYKYK). Not so much the ending itself, but the means and ways of how that came to be. But if that final song doesn’t leave you feeling uplifted, nothing will. The setting/shooting locations also made me quite homesick. It was filmed largely in the vicinity of my hometown, which I haven’t been to in over 5 years (except a single overnight visit to see my MIL during her final hospital stay last year). My eyes got a little sweaty seeing “home,” particularly Driftwood Beach.

This also brings me to another thought, and I realize I am somewhat speaking outside of my personal experience here. (Again, feeling appropriately chastised by American Fiction.) I wonder if this movie resonates with people outside of the southeastern US the way it does for people who live here? I’ve lived in Georgia the vast majority of my life, though in a few different places (many miles from each other, not all clustered around Atlanta). It brings back so much of what things are like, especially in the more rural areas. And given where it was filmed, it very much feels like home in so many places. I mean, things and times have changed, and yet in some ways, they haven’t. I know I can’t understand what it is like to live as a person of color in these places, but I do understand the types of hardships faced by people from these areas, because I’ve lived there myself. For someone who grew up in, say, urban New York or Chicago, or out in California, does this move feel foreign? I’m curious how others feel about the movie (or the stage musical) if they’re from other places.

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