The Color Purple

(Steven Spielberg, USA, 1985)


Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Alice Walker’s popular novel produces – like much of the director’s work – a powerfully ambivalent response.

This desperate attempt to make the Big Hollywood Statement about the experience of black women in the American South – the first of several such projects in the Spielberg canon – is undeniably sticky, overwrought, sanctimonious and manipulative.

Yet, there is an equally undeniable emotional force to the film, communicated through Whoopi Goldberg’s performance, and the entrancingly Utopian vision of a singing, dancing, loving Paradise-on-Earth.

MORE Spielberg: Catch Me If You Can, Hook, The Lost World, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, The Terminal, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, Munich

© Adrian Martin January 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
home    reviews    essays    search