To say that film director Tyler
Perry has reached a pivotal point in his career with the release
of the film-adaptation of Ntozake
Shanges 1975 Tony Award-winning stage play, For Colored Girls
Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is
Enuf, is an understatement. Although, Perry does not reenact the
play scene-by-scene, and some of the colors intertwine, this film
will still serve as a milestone in his career. It is the first time
that Perry attempts to create a film that does not portray any slap-stick
characters; but rather it pushes his craft to develop characters that
deal with very real travesties and serious issues. For Colored Girls
is Perrys first project released in association with Lionsgate and
his new division, 34th Street Films.
With such an exorbitant cast with stars
including Janet Jackson (red), Phylicia Rashad, Kimberly
Elise (brown), Loretta Devine
(green), Thandie Newton (orange), Kerry Washington
(blue), Anika Noni Rose (yellow), Whoopi Goldberg
(white), Tessa Thompson (purple) and Macy Gray, one of
the more serious issues that Perry faces is properly spending enough
screen time on each character. While there are men that appear in the
film in intricate roles such as Hill Harper, Michael
Ealy, Khalil Kain, Richard Lawson and Omari Hardwick,
clearly the stars of the film are the colored girls.
Some of the issues that the colored
girls face include spousal abuse, promiscuity, teen pregnancy and back
alley abortion, child murder and rape. While Perry is able to make
many of the issues fit into modern times, some just stick out like a
sore thumb. For example, one of the scenes that sticks out is when Nyla
(Thompson), the youngest colored girl gets pregnant during her first
sexual experience. She then attempts to get money for an abortion, but
is advised to have a back alley procedure done for half the price.
Now in the 70s, these types of abortions may have been more common,
but in 2010 they just dont happen anymore.
Throughout it all, however, Shanges
illuminating poems are eloquently entwined in with the lines. During
a recent press day at the London Hotel in New York City Perry opened
up about the importance of maintaining the poetic essence of the film,
while trying to build a connecting story line around the colored girls.
He said, For
Colored Girls is a
choreopoem. Its linear there is no story there. Its just women represented
by different colors telling their stories. So yeah, as I listened
to it, I thought it would be great to have all these women not know
each other and they are just living their lives and their paths are
crossing, all their paths were crossing and finally they all come together
at a tragic event that changes all of their lives.
Again, this is not a film that Perrys
loyal church audience will be expecting, lets just hope that instead
of condemning him for pushing the envelope and testing his directorial
limits his dramatics will be similarly embraced. Theatergoers who have
either seen and/or read Ntozake Shanges rendition, try to keep an
open mind about the changes or lack there of that Perry has made in
the film. For Colored Girls will bring much scrutiny and verbal
bashings to Tyler Perry, but at the same time its still a film that
every female teenager and adult should see. Perrys film tells the
emotional stories behind the many struggles of black women; the film
is a brutal and raw depiction of the depressed realities thats transcendent
in the lives of many African-American women.
Tyler Perrys For Colored
Girls opens in theaters nationwide November 5th.