By: Taren Vaughan
For years now, Tyler Perry has brought us both movies and plays from all different angles. From the full fledged comedic pieces to the dramas that still have those laughable moments in them, he has found multiple ways to get his point across to viewing audiences, especially the African American one. As we all know, you will not walk away from a Tyler Perry film without getting at least one teachable moment under your belt. But in this film, those moments were of abundance. And I must say that they were much more intense than that of what we are used to from him.
For Colored Girls touched on every situation imaginable that a black woman could go through. One major thing about this movie that set it apart from your typical Tyler Perry dramas was that it was a little more intense that usual. Sure, the man behind “Madea” always has those learning moments somewhere in his films and plays. But the ones in this movie will make you truly realize the seriousness of what some sisters out there are going through. And this film did a good job at touching on just about every possible scenario that black women, or women in general for that matter, could find themselves in. And the quality of actresses and actors that he selected for these roles was superb. Raw, hardcore talent is seen all through this movie, which I must say can be kind of iffy when it comes to TP flicks.
Actress Kimberly Elise took on one of the most intense roles of the film as the abused mother of two whose baby’s father stayed on edge due to his heavy drinking problem. Although Elise had the most complex problems of them all, Thandie Newton by far stole the show, playing Tangie, the apartment building’s “free spirit” who always kept her bed warm with random strangers. Elise, Newton and Kerry Washington, who played the heartfelt social worker who longed to have children of her own, to me, are three of the most underrated actresses in the business. But with the performances that Kimberly Elise and Thandie Newton put on in this movie, there may be some Oscar nominations coming their way in the near future.
In addition to including fresh talents like Anika Noni Rose and Tessa Thompson, Perry went on to bring some veterans on board in this film. As a motherly figure but far from Claire Huxtable, actress Phylicia Rashad played the “tell it like it is” manager of the apartment complex who constantly bumped heads with Tangie (Thandie Newton) about her “loose ways”. To ease viewers hearts’ from all the dramatic scenes, he added in the very talented and funny Loretta Devine, as the boisterous nurse that had a slight problem of her own, chucking up the deuces to her tired “man-friend” that she kept taking back. Whoopi Goldberg showed a more serious side of herself in this movie, playing the “holier than thou” mother of two daughters, one of whom she absolutely despised. Bring in Ms. Jackson as the successful yet miserable head of her own fashion magazine and you have a full cast of African American actresses with strong on-screen presence.
One flaw of the movie that stood out to me was Perry’s attempt to incorporate poetry into. The randomness of the poem reciting is what may throw movie goers off at points in the movie. Trying to hold on to that aspect of the original stage play, it could have been done a little differently to where it flowed better. As the concept incorporating poetry was necessary to maintain the connection with the original version, the way that it was presented in the movie could have been done differently. As for the ending of the movie, it was very symbolic of Terry McMillan’s “Waiting To Exhale”, with a sister circle moment with lots of tear shedding and hugging.
The intensity of the situations presented in this film closely mirrored that of the Academy Award nominated film “Precious”. If you are not one for tear jerkers that may have you grabbing your Kleenex box every five minutes, this may not be the movie that you want to go see when you are in good spirits. It held no punches when it came to what these women were going through whatsoever. And I have to admit, this is one of Tyler Perry’s dramas that I can honestly say fully lives up to the word “drama”. Not to down play his other dramatic films like “Why Did I Get Married” of “Diary of A Mad Black Woman” because I enjoyed both of those movies. For Colored Girls though is somewhat in a league of its own. But yet and still, this movie was very “Tyler Perry-ish”. Overall, For Colored Girls was a very good movie and worth the money to go see.