The Color Purple
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Time Out saysThe adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, about growing up 'poor, female, ugly and black' in the Deep South, by a Middle American movie brat not hitherto noted for his interest in any of the above, could be cynically seen as a blatant (and botched) bid for Oscars. And it's easy - but unfair - to stamp on the Spielberg version of Celie's triumphant pursuit of happiness and self-respect. Example: Walker's clear, lyrical patois has been filmed with, well, purple pomposity, a battering ram of flashy editing and tearful emotion (the brutish husband played by Glover, whom Walker finally allows his own small epiphany, gets especially short shrift as yet another of the big, bad authority figures who stalk Spielberg's world). Nor is it altogether surprising that Spielberg treads delicately round the story's more radical elements, like Celie's lesbian love for free-spirited blues singer Shug (Avery) or the political insights of her sister's African experience. And yet... due in no small measure to a superb cast spearheaded by Whoopi Goldberg, this is a powerful and honourable attempt to wrest an unusual book into the populist Hollywood mainstream.