Regardless of how you feel about her writing, Alice Walker’s story is a remarkable and telling slice of twentieth century Americana. Born into southern poverty and racism, she was the beneficiary of a mother who tigerishly defended her daughter’s right to an education. Walker saw a way out of her family’s difficult circumstances via the written word; inevitably her gift led her towards both feminism and the civil rights movement.
But even within what must have seemed likely to be potentially sympathetic environs, Walker didn’t quite fit in; usually the sign of a truly unique figure. Her marriage to a white man attracted opprobrium on both sides of the racial divide and her bisexuality didn’t help either. The ultimate impression left by Pratibha Parmar’s eloquent film is of a courageous life full of risk but full of joy too.