1985 / 154m - USA
The Color Purple poster


February 18, 2023


A pretty standard Spielberg drama. The Color Purple is well-made, but it's also big, loud, and sentimental. It's not Spielberg's worst film I've seen, but it's typical Hollywood schmaltz that never comes off as genuine or heartfelt. The runtime also doesn't help, but I knew that even before going in.

Celie is a poor young black woman who is driven into marriage with an older man. The man doesn't treat her right, but Celie is used to coping with very little, and she persists. When she meets the mistress of her husband, a lively blues singer, the two become good friends and Celie finally finds a way to enjoy life.

The cinematography and score are competent, and the performances decent, but the film lacks the subtlety and depth of a good drama. A putrid whiff of sentimentality hangs over every scene and while there is a lot of plot to wade through, 150 minutes is way too long for this film. Not great.