Last night I saw “For Colored Girls,” Tyler Perry‘s adaptation of Ntozake Shange‘s book For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. The theater was extremely crowded since it was opening night and there were even Nielsen surveys to fill out about the film. It made going to see the film seem like an “event,” but it was a but much. I have to mention that I have not yet read the poems, but I give the movie an overall grade of a B. I enjoyed all the characters but the acting was often melodramatic. Still, I applaud Tyler Perry for taking on this challenge and offering a space for so many talented black actresses to showcase their talent. I saw the movie with my sister and I recommend seeing it with your female friends or relatives. Here’s a bit about the film and characters:
Kimberly Elise is a highly underrated actress and pours her heart into roles. In this film she grapples with domestic violence. Her acting gets a B+ and her crying scenes are intense and believable.
Tangie– Thandie Newton:
Tangie is a tramp with a bad attitude in the film. Yet despite her rough demeanor, she shows vulnerability and her character has a past that offers some explanation for her lewd behavior. Newton does an excellent job of portraying Tangie as a multilayered character.
Nyla– Tessa Thonpson:
Thompson is the youngest leading lady and I was surprised at how well she performed. She plays a young dancer who is confused about how to handle a common teen problem. Unfortunately, she does not have many women to turn to for help. Her poetry recitations are executed nicely and I think this actress will get a lot more work in the coming months.
Alice– Whoopi Goldberg:
Alice is a strange character. Whoopi Goldberg plays a religious fanatic who has dysfunctional relationships with her daughters Tangie (Newton) and Nyla (Thomas). Her character comes off as a bit comical rather than serious in many scenes. But I’m glad Alice was included in the roster. Like her, many people may turn to religion as a means of redemption/escape and become obsessive in the process.
Juanita was the most entertaining character to watch. Some people may be put off by Loretta Devine’s sugary sweet “down-home” accent, but I think it’s great. It’s her trademark and it serves her well in this movie. Her monologues are crowd pleasers and her acting outshines many other characters. Juanita’s dilemma is an unfaithful boyfriend.
Kelly– Kerry Washington:
Kelly is a case worker for child services and is initially connected to Kimberly Elise’s character Crystal. Kerry Washington is a talented actress but she only does an okay job in this movie in my opinion. Unfortunately, she is not as compelling as some of the other actresses.
Jo– Janet Jackson:
Janet Jackson’s acting in general is mediocre but in this movie she does a pretty good job. Jo’s character was added for the film and was not in the book. She is an editor-in-chief of a magazine who is anal and cold to her employees and husband. We learn that her marriage may be the cause for her cold temperament. Jo is also definitely the most fashionable of all the characters. She wears some killer heals and outfits in the film.
Yasmine–Anika Noni Rose:
Yasmine is Nyla’s (Thompson) dance teacher and is bubbly and artistic. This character seems the most happy of all the women in the beginning of the movie. She epitomizes a ray of sunlight and represents the color yellow. In the film her light is slightly dulled after a traumatic incident.
Gilda– Phylicia Rashad:
Gilda is one of my favorite characters. She is Crystal (Elise) and Tangie’s (Newton) nosey neighbor, but instead of being a stereotypical annoying neighbor, Gilda is the voice of reason in the film and a mentor to the younger women in the apartment building. Her poetry recitations, like Thompson’s, are compelling and add to the movie’s depth.
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