“This Ain’t Your Mama’s Color Purple!”
The Color Purple is a story of love and resilience, showing one woman’s struggle for independence. As a coming-of-age tale about empowerment, it tells the story of Celie Harris and the tribulations she endures during her life in early twentieth-century Georgia, and how she ultimately finds incredible hope and strength in the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood she acquires along her journey.
When the book was first published in 1982 by Alice Walker, The Color Purple initially broke the silence around domestic and sexual abuse. Narrating women’s lives through their pain and struggle, it portrayed their journey of companionship with one another, significantly highlighting their bravery and resilience.
Tragically, a fourteen-year-old Celie is impregnated by her father and given to Albert “Mister” Johnson for marriage. Celie is separated from her sister Nettie, who she had a significantly close bond to; stating that ‘she was the only one who ever loved me.’ Banished into a life of domestic imprisonment, Mister beats Celie into submission, banning Nettie from their home and forbidding Celie from having any contact with her sister.
Along the way Celie forms endearing bonds with a number of strong women, whose stories are impertinent to the plot, and she eventually breaks free from Mister. With her life continuing to soar, Celie is met with a happy ending at last!
As a bold new take on the beloved classic, this latest version of The Color Purple is said to be an ‘unbelievable cinematic experience.’ Viewers will laugh and cry, being left in complete awe.
Spielberg’s 1985 film drove fans into tears of heartbreak, anger, and victory. With Whoopi Goldberg as Celie Harris, and Oprah Winfrey as Sofia nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, it portrayed the adversity and triumph of black women in the South in the early 1900s. In 2005 there was a Broadway musical written with playwright Marsha Norman. These two adaptations were based on the original book; however, this new film will be primarily based on the Broadway musical.
This new version chooses to take a unique route, utilising elements of magical realism to help capture the wondrous imagination of Celie Harris.
Warner Brothers and Amblin Entertainment are the two major studios behind the film, with Quincy Jones as a producer who originally composed the score for the 1985 film, alongside Scott Sanders, who produced the 2005 Broadway Show.
With Oprah Winfrey coming back into this world now as a Producer, joined alongside Steven Spielberg, the film is said to be a ‘bold’ new take on the classic story of love and resilience.
However, Winfrey has made a statement that they are doing things very differently this time around stating that “This ain’t your mama’s Color Purple” It is a new generational take on the triumphant book and adaptations made many years ago with the aim of transporting the audience into a world of beauty and sorrow.
With an utterly brilliant cast, from Halle Bailey to Taraji P. Henson, Elizabeth Marvel, David Alan Grier, Colam Domingo and Louis Gosset Jr, Broadway members will also be joining them on the big screen. Fantasia Barrino-Taylor originally served as a replacement for Celie in the original Broadway production and is back for the lead role. Alongside Danielle Brooks who is reclaiming her role as strong-willed Sofia who she played in the 2015 Broadway revival.
Filming for The Color Purple took place in Georgia in March 2022, swiftly wrapping in July of the same year! The film is set to appear in cinemas on December 25th, 2023, in the US and from 26th January 2024 in the UK.
What a fantastic way to finish 2023 and start the new year off with a bang for the film industry!
Written by Lucy Plant