Thursday, November 4, 2010

Film Yap: For Colored Girls

With a title like For Colored Girls it seems to suggest this is a film for a select audience. It’s not just suggesting, but almost demanding. So can this film work if you a white boy, like me? Not exactly, but it doesn’t work for colored girls as well.

This is based off the beloved play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. The play is composed of twenty poetic monologues from different women. Tyler Perry has taken those speeches and tried to compose a singular story out of it. It’s an ambitious effort with plenty of cracks.

There are too many plotlines to keep track of what’s going on. There is Janet Jackson as Jo, another prada wearing devil with less subtly than Meryl Streep. She’s mean to her assistant, Kimberly Elise who is been abused by her husband. There are neighbors to Thandie Newton who is a proud sexual being except when she’s being judged by her little sister, Tessa Thompson, and her mentally questionable mother, Whoopi Goldberg. There is also Anika Noni Rose who endures a brutal date rape, Loretta Devine who needs money for her charity, and Phylicia Rashad who watches over everyone.

Got all that? Now as they experience all of the terrible things without any sort of proper arc for the movie, they become further betrayed by the script. There are two things that Perry does wrong with it. The first half of the film is awkward dialog in that everyone is talking about things that happened before the movie began. It’s just unnecessary exposition, which creates an unbearable pace where it feels like nothing is moving forward.

Once the plot does move forward, it abruptly stops past the hour mark. Then the monologues begin. The film feels like it’s ending ten times because instead of fulfilling the full movie’s arc it’s just repeating the final scene for each undeveloped character. What’s worse is that the speeches are so far apart from the rest of the dialog. The whole movie has been stilted, sure, but at least realistic. These monologues are poems. These are the not the voices of any of the characters and it’s just seems like insanity when they are randomly inserted.

Perry never earns any of the endings because it’s like it wasn’t listening to the monologues. The film seemed to just be about the difficult things about being a modern woman, but then there are random bits like “I had convinced myself that colored girls have no right to sorrow.” Where did that come from?! That was never part of the movie at all.

Having speeches like that are candy for actors, but their tears and passion just seem wasted. There is a good movie in the heart of all this, but Tyler Perry was not the one to make it.

2 Yaps

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