December 11, 2019

Review The Color Purple (1985)

By Steven Spielberg | USA
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Sometimes it can be annoying when a film plays a bit too much with your heartstrings. There’s just such a thin line between what we can call emotional and manipulative. “The Color Purple” threads on this line. Yet with a genuinely provoking story; one filled with moments of downfalls and triumphs, it still kept its own integrity that kept it away from cheesy territory.
If anything, the story of this racially charged feminist story is actually rather harrowing on paper. Family friendly favorite director, Steven Spielberg (at least at that time), did not shy away from the horrific truth when potraying the early 1900 era south. In the first five minutes alone, every bit of disturbing normality is already brought upon as our protagonist is being introduced : Celie, the girl who would soon struck our upmost empathy, is already pregnant twice by the age of 14. What more sickening is, both child were of his father — a sexual abuser who sees his daughters as nothing but property. Just barely a teen, Celie was already sold on to an acquaintance of his dad, a farmer by the name Albert. Like most other men around her, Albert turns out to be an abuser as well; never hesitant when it comes to physically and psychologically torment his new wedded wife. Celie’s world seems lost and herself left unloved, if not for her only sister Netty who swore that the only thing keeping her love away from Cellie is death itself. Which essentially became Cellie’s only vain hope for the next fourty years of living as a tortured soul.
Seeing the lessons of “The Color Purple” is easy. Like most of his work, Spielberg didn’t buried his intention deep within the story. On the contrary, “The Color Purple” is full of people spouting their belief. It’s a story of people who hold strongly on what they set upon as normal. This of course, reflects well the true difficulty in overcoming the real oppression within the world. Where the issue is not that these abusers and discriminators want to be evil by their own right. But it is because they think of their behaviors as normal
Whether it be racial or gender, abuse and discrimination were normalize. It is clearer and clearer as we venture more and more into the past. “The Color Purple” reminded us of that. It acts less as a cautionary tale for the future as much as a harrowing reminder to the disgusting ways we used to held up. And how years of living with the established norm has left us ignorant to keep questioning what’s right. This is even more dangerous to the victims who out of habit, swept off the injustice done upon them rather than standing up. And that, is why the progress we have made of late felt so significant. We need to save more and more Celie; who never thought intimacy can ever be based on love. Celie who advocate for the abuse of her own kind because she simply couldn’t think off anything else. We need to let them hold their heads up high. Because that is what they deserve and not a single bit less.
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“The Color Purple” is a genuinely touching story of resilience. It is a story of overcoming abuse through the very qualities those abusers don’t have: and it is tenderness, patience, and resilience. A true classic that not only gave us Oprah and Whoopi Goldberg, but also tons of food for thought.
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