I watched half of the movie on HBO today and the only regret I have is that I didn’t manage to catch the entire show. (And that’s NOT because I am infatuated with purple though it’s a happy coincidence!)

It’s another one of those slow and poignant movies set in the Deep South– full of sweeping brightly-coloured meadows that terminate on the horizon where pastel, cloudless skies begin, separated by glimpses of breathtaking sunsets and blooming flowers and quaint little huts, to a background of birds chirping and folk music or ringing choruses of black gospel. That kind of still, serene movie that maintains its quiet composure even at the most sorrowful of climaxes, yet the buckets of tears still come.

Movies like Capote, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the like. The Color Purple is not that different, in that it invokes the same kind of sympathy for blacks of that early 20th-century mob-lynching slave-burning era.

The story is of a Celie, who struggles through incest as a young girl, pregnancy and then an abusive marriage to a man many years her senior. She draws strength from her headstrong female companions and finally finds the courage to stand up to her husband and search for her long-lost sister. Interlinked with hers are the lives of other members of the black community, including that of her daughter-in-law (who is older than her), Sofia, who is sentenced to years in jail for hitting the town’s white mayor. The movie also touches on Christian faith, and how Celie loses and regains her faith as her life takes a tragic turn after another. In fact, the title derives from a discussion between Celie and Shug, her friend, where Shug says: “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

Whoopi Goldberg is Celie and goodness, it’s really quite heartbreaking to watch her, especially at one part where Shug was teaching her to smile again (yes, she’s that pitiful). Oprah Winfrey, as Sofia, also brings a sort of dark comedic edge to the movie; she’s funny, but you want to cry for her. Punching a white mayor is not exactly the cleverest thing to do when you’re a black, and a black woman at that–it’s like a left and right hook consecutively at his ego–but really, who can blame her? And Mister, Celie’s husband–despite his cruelty, I really couldn’t help but feel sorry for him as well towards the end, maybe because he always looked somewhat tortured and confused throughout the entire half of the movie that I watched.

The scenes are a tad strange sometimes, because they tend to get a bit over the top and kinda impossible. But I think it was probably done on purpose to add a touch of surrealism, like it was told from someone’s slightly overblown perception of what really happened. Especially at the church scene where Shug reunites with her father.

The ending is, as expected, bittersweet, but a good one anyway. I mean, it’s Steven Spielberg… he’s always been a family-friendly-ending kind of man. Ohwell (:

I wish I could give a better review but you’ll have to settle for a very good one from Roger Ebert.

Now all I want is the first half of the movie (yay for HBO’s reruns), and the book!

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It won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award. Apparently it’s what is called an epistolary novel (i.e. a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. — Wiki). Never knew it was called that. In fact I thought epistolary novels were just excuses for chick lit writers who don’t know how to write!! Hahah. Like Meg Cabot’s The Boy Next Door which is possibly my favourite chick lit book ever. I think I have a thing for stories about loaded New Yorker socialites because this book (like Gossip Girl) is partly about rich kids in NY as well hehe.

But anyway. Sounds really good! (:

So yes if anyone wants to get me an early birthday present, you know what to get me! Hoho.

Or okay, realistically speaking, if you find it at a secondhand bookstore. Please help me get it! 😀

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