ENG 225 Introduction to Film
Instructor Paul Wiltz
April 29, 2012
For Colored Girls Critique Draft
The 2010 drama film For Colored Girls follows the intersecting lives of nine African American women. When you watch this film you can expect to be taken on an emotional ride of heartbreak and tragedy. This film grapples with the topics of rape, abortion, and domestic abuse. However, the most difficult scenes to watch, center on a rape and the murder of two young children by their father. Despite the heavy subject matter, the movies message about self-respect is a worthwhile one. The film’s storytelling, acting, cinematography, sound, and editing are excellent and makes for an outstanding movie. “Being alive and being a woman is all I got, but being colored is a metaphysical dilemma I haven’t conquered yet” (Perry, 2010). For Colored Girls is a Tyler Perry inspired motion picture. The screenplay for the 2010 movie was written by Tyler Perry. It is based on the award winning 1975 play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, by Ntozake Shange. According to the Washington Post, Michael O' Sullivan "For Colored Girls may, in fact, be Perry's best film (O’Sullivan, 2010). In fact, it has won NCAAP Image awards for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Elise), and Best Director (Tyler Perry). This story complete with Black Reel, BET, and Image Award winning performances in acting, best movie, best songs, and directing is perfect for those in need of understanding what it means to be self-respecting. What we as a society still tend to ignore is that African Americans were forcibly brought to this country in chains for centuries and confined to a barbaric system of slavery that intentionally broke-down one's sense of self. The movie opens with a haunting string-swathed classical piano piece with poetic recitals by Loretta Devine, Kimberly Elise and Janet Jackson. The end of the last scene of this film compounded all the ugliness in people and society leaving it there to hang over the audience. However, it ended in the song “I Know Who I Am” by Leona Lewis (Perry, 2010). This is the perfect song for a film of this nature since the concept of family was all but destroyed, and African American women in particular were subjected to incredible abuse, sexual and otherwise, by their slave masters. Unlike the original play which features only seven women known by colors; the movie has given each of the characters names. For Colored Girls centers on nine women who each encounter some form of abuse, neglect, or harassment whether it’s physical, sexual, or emotional. The characters begin the film as acquaintances but as the story progresses they become unexpected allies during some of the most terrifying moments of their lives. Perry brought together an array of talented actresses to star in this ensemble. All who live in a fifth floor walkup apartment building in Harlem which is taken from the original play. For Colored Girls is a compelling, well-acted, and emotionally jarring drama filled with poetic soliloquies, mysticism, and life lessons. It stars Tangie (Thandie Newton), a promiscuous and thoroughly liberated woman who uses men as tools. Gilda (Phylicia Rashad), the nosey landlady, Juanita (Loretta Devine), an outspoken, strong-willed woman stymied by her weakness for a two-timing man; Jo (Janet Jackson), a wealthy, emotionally lifeless corporate executive, Nyla (Tessa Thompson), Tangie's innocent younger sister, Alice (Whoopi Goldberg), mother of Tangie and Nyla, Kelly (Kerry Washington), a social services caseworker who's become so inured to familial dysfunction that she has trouble recognizing imminent danger when it stares her in the face; Yasmine (Anika Noni Rose), a dance teacher with a bright and optimistic outlook on life — until she falls prey to a rapist and then there is Crystal (Kimberly Elise), a working...