Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Fantasia Version of “The Color Purple” Debuts on Rotten Tomatoes with 88% Fresh, Headed to Academy Awards


“The Color Purple” reviews have arrived, and they are everything I hoped for. Rotten Tomatoes puts is at 88% fresh. Blitz Bazawule’s movie is headed to the Oscars.

Fantasia leads a cast of terrific actors who all deserve to be nominated, including Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, and Colman Domingo.

“The Color Purple” started life as Alice Walker’s novel, then became a Steven Spielberg movie starring Whoopi Goldberg. It went on to success as a Broadway musical, then returned to Broadway reimagined. So this is the fifth time around, and it’s a charm.

Bazawule has breathed even newer life into the story of sisters Celie and Nettie, their abusive father and the lives they made in the South in the early part of the 20th century. It’s a tribute to Walker’s work that “The Color Purple” has retained such a strong impact every time it’s told. But Bazawule’s fresh approach — combined with music from the Broadway shows — makes for a sensational film.

Fantasia, who won “American Idol” and then played Celie in the first Broadway iteration, is remarkable. We already know her amazing voice, but she gives life to Celie in an even more nuanced performance. “The Color Purple” is full of acting revelations. Taraji P. Henson is already a star, but no could have imagined her singing, and dancing the way she does here. Danielle Brooks was a star on Broadway last year in “The Piano Lesson,” but her version of Sofia, the spitfire that comes into Celie’s family’s life, rips the paint right off the ceiling. And don’t forget Colman Domingo as the abusive Mister, who is eventually given his comeuppance.

“The Color Purple” should be the hit of the holiday season, gripping audiences of all kinds. And thanks to the original story, when the movie hits its climactic moment, there isn’t a dry eye in the house. Exuberant and painful, “The Color Purple” is a landmark film.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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