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The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022
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‘The Color Purple’ emotionally grips audiences through excellent performances, music

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Courtesy of Warner Bros

“The Color Purple” came out as a book in 1982, then became a movie in 1985, and then was put on Broadway in 2005. Now, in 2023, Blitz Bazawule adapted the beloved classic as a movie musical for the big screen. “The Color Purple” follows the life of Celie (Fantasia Barrino) and the hardships and abuse she faces from her youth and into her adulthood.

Each actor gives it their all in developing their characters — an impressive feat as audiences follow a large ensemble cast through multiple decades. Not only is the setting constantly changing with time, but so are the personalities, perspectives and experiences of the characters. While every actor performs their heart out and makes emotional impacts at every narrative turn, Fantasia Barrino as Celie and Taraji P. Henson as blues singer Shug Avery chew up the scenery the most in every scene. This is especially true considering their relationship with each other and how their perspectives clash before ultimately syncing up by the end of the film. If Barrino and Henson don’t receive nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars, they will most certainly get robbed. That being said, everyone does a phenomenal job and makes the emotional beats of the film impact the audience in tremendous ways.

Through a blend of songs from the Broadway musical and original songs from director Bazawule, the musical sequences stun audiences with their excellent choreography, beautiful singing from all parties involved and amazing camera work. The camera and editing combine to make each sequence feel like it was completed in one take, much like an actual Broadway musical. Having some of the cast be actual singers also helps to enhance musical sequences in a way that hasn’t been done in a movie musical for a while.


The story itself will take viewers through an emotional journey of loss, injustice and at some moments, beauty in a sea of disaster. The narrative feels fine-tuned to allow audiences time to sit with the character’s decisions rather than rapidly jumping from plot point to plot point. This all comes to a close at the beautiful final picnic sequence.

The only negative aspect of “The Color Purple” comes in its runtime, which feels like an actual musical without an intermission. There were multiple moments where the film could have ended, but it just kept going. This made for the movie’s final act feeling dragged out, which may leave some audiences anxious to leave. 

“The Color Purple” has always been an amazing piece of media, so to remake it with a modern cast based on the Broadway musical will stand out as a real treat both to those who know the story already and those who don’t. Thanks to the wonderful performances of the ensemble cast and the excellent directing skills of Blitz Bazawule, “The Color Purple” stands out as a shining example of the best way to make a musical movie for modern audiences.

4 musical numbers out of 5

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About the Contributor
Ryan Ranc, Life & Arts Reporter