Review: For Colored Girls

Janet Jackson, Loretta Devine, Kimberly Elise, Thandie Newton, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Kerry Washington, and Tessa Thompson in For Colored Girls

For Colored Girls is a brilliant work of art. The film was released in 2010, but I just saw it. I was blown away by the breathtaking language and the heartfelt performances.

For Colored Girls is based on a play by Ntozake Shange called For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. It was adapted into a film and directed by Tyler Perry.

Seven women’s lives weave together in this story. The women are played by Kimberly Elise, Janet Jackson, Loretta Devine, Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose, Kerry Washington, and Tessa Thompson. These women cope with various difficult situations in their lives. Their stories are about emotion, self-worth, and having control over your own life.

In the play, the women were represented by colors – Brown, Red, Green and so on. In the film they have actual names, but their costumes still retain references to their colors.

I thought the direction was outstanding. Long poetic speeches were delivered by each of the women. They were a part of the action, part of the expressions of their lives. While not realistic as dialog you would normally see in a film, the speeches were completely real as a reflection of the emotions and struggles of the women. Ntozake Shange’s words pack power and truth.

This film is different. It runs long – over 2 hours. It’s about women. It uses poetry and an elevated manner of expression. I don’t think those things are drawbacks, but I vaguely recall a negative response in 2010. I advise you to give it a try and judge for yourself. I found it inspired and magnificent.

In addition to the main characters, other key parts were played by Phylicia Rashad, Whoopi Goldberg, and Macy Gray. There were several husbands, boyfriends and dates in the film as well. Michael Ealy, Omari Hardwick, Richard Lawson, Hill Harper, and Khalil Kain played those roles.

The trailer is basically the opening credits of the film. For Colored Girls is streaming on practically every service. I watched it on Hulu.

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