Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, and Whoopi Goldberg head up an all-star cast in a vibrant world where friends and strangers dream, fear, cry, love, and laugh out loud in an attempt to find their true selves. Adapted by writer/director Tyler Perry from Ntozake Shange's acclaimed choreopoem, this gripping film paints an unforgettable portrait of what it means to be a woman of color in the modern world.
Tyler Perry breaks through to a new level of achievement as a writer and director in his remake of For Colored Girls (based on the groundbreaking 1970s play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf, by Ntozake Shange). The cast is superb, especially Kimberly Elise and Phylicia Rashad. And the rest of the cast is just as compelling, including a low-key Janet Jackson, Loretta Devine, singer Macy Gray, Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington, and Anika Noni Rose. For Colored Girls follows each actress/character as she faces prejudice, economic challenges, male abandonment, role upheaval--and all the emotions that go along with them. The original play was performed as poetry, and while the editing of For Colored Girls is a little uneven, Perry lets Shange's poetry truly shine through. Any person of color, any woman, and anyone who cares about them, will be drawn in to the deepest dramas a woman of color can experience--in the '70s or today. Viewers will get goose bumps when Newton's character, Tangie, says, "Being alive and being a woman is all I got, but being colored is a metaphysical dilemma I haven't conquered yet." And Elise as Crystal is utterly heartbreaking, with a performance reminiscent of her unforgettable turn in Beloved. The soundtrack of For Colored Girls is as unforgettable as the film, with performances by Gray, Sharon Jones, and others, including Estelle, in a showstopping version of "All Day Long (Blue Skies)." The blues may be wrenching--but in For Colored Girls, they make up the poetry of life. --A.T. Hurley