Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A naive lady's take on the movie "For Colored Girls"

Picture credit
I have decided to post about my reactions/thoughts on the movie "For Colored Girls."  Before I proceed I will caution you that the opinions presented here are my own and are influenced by my knowledge and experiences.  Also, I'd like to give the disclaimer that there will be multiple "spoilers" in this post so if you intend to watch the movie (and haven't yet), you may want to read this at a later time. 

I think it's important for you to have some basic knowledge about me for you to fully understand my review.  As you can probably tell (from this post title) I grew up very sheltered, thankfully not exposed to most of the horrifying acts that occurred in this movie.  I was born in a third world country and partially raised there until I moved to NY.  I humbly confess that I have never lived in the projects and have spent most of my US years in the suburbs.  I grew up in a culturally strict Caribbean family which definitely influenced my views of myself and the world.  With this being said, although I may not be your home girl from the block I've interacted enough with others (friends and patients) to be able to give my two cents.

I will start out by saying that I feel the movie was well done.  I won't say that I hated it but I also can't say I loved it.  I enjoyed the poetry and the creativity.  All the actors played their characters very well and made an impression on me in some way (good or bad).  I must admit that I almost used up a whole roll of toilet paper by the time the movie was over.  I did not know much about the movie (shameless confession) prior to seeing it so I entered it bright eyed and bushy tailed but came out with big frightening eyes and mouth wide open. 

Now, since I have not seen the play or read the book, I don't really know how closely Tyler Perry portrayed the original story (therefore I cannot comment about that).  Anyway, a fault that I have with some of Tyler Perry's movies and others is the negative light that males are portrayed in.  From the married men who intentionally sought out sexual pleasure by cheating on their wives, to the successful husband who ends up also being a cheater and a man who enjoys having sexual relations with men, to the cheating loser who repeatedly goes back to the woman who hurt him, and finally to the father with mental health issues who abuses his children's mother and murders his children.  The only male with any redeemable qualities was the supportive, understanding husband played by Hill Harper.  This was very disappointing.  Another disappointing point about the story in my opinion is that it provides no hope.  

I was blown away by the stories of all the women in the film.  The female characters were powerful women that were all beaten down by life in some way.  But, I wished the movie would have been more triumphant.  I guess I kept looking for the hope in the movie but could not find any.  Some strong points about the movie is the emphasis on sisterhood and the importance of women supporting each other.  But again, it went back to the same thought --does it have to take being badly treated by males for women to bond together?  I guess there was a little hope in Tessa Thompson's character (Nyla)...meaning even if you come from messed up beginnings it's still possible to go to college and hopefully become successful.  I wish their could be a part 2 that showed how these women overcame their individual barriers.  I guess I like happy endings but I know that for some there is no such thing. 

At the end, I couldn't help but think that: Crystal will never be at peace and will forever be haunted by guilt, Jo will continue to live a long bitter life, Juanita's moment of self confidence will be only short-lived, Tangie's self hatred as a result of being a victim of incest will last for generations, Yasmine will continue to have post traumatic stress symptoms despite the death of her attacker and she will probably have a difficult time trusting men, Kelly may continue to feel guilt and possible hopelessness as she continues to work in a system that she cannot change, Tessa will have to live with the guilt of having an abortion and may never be able to have children because of the unsafe abortion practices.

Now, I have not walked in any of the characters shoes but I was able to understand them and the struggles they faced.  I was not the innocent  dance instructor who's rights were sexually violated. I was not the stoic, successful businesswoman who gained a heart after witnessing a traumatic event or contracting HIV from her spouse.  Neither was I the young teenager who almost died from unsanitary practices from receiving an abortion.  I was not the woman who finally gained confidence to stand up to a cheating partner and realized how powerful she was.  I have never been the woman so scarred by incest that she cannot define who she is.  Lastly, I hope to never be the woman that will be forever tormented by not being able to flee from a situation that placed both her and her children in danger.  Yet, I was moved to the core by their stories.

With all this being said, I don't believe that one has to walk a mile in someone else's shoes to be able to empathize and have one's own heart break for them. What do you think?

By the way, I saw this movie with a few lady friends.  My husband wants to see the movie also but I hate seeing movies twice and especially not one that is so emotionally draining as this one.

Mrs. K


  1. I'm definitely going to have to check it out. I also don't think you have to walk in someone's shoes to empathize, but at the same time, even when I empathize, I can't fathom the amount of pain that they are feeling. I love the idea of a happy-ending sequel. Your blog is beautiful! Off to read more! :)

  2. Mrs. K

    Thanks for sharing your opinion of the movie and also for giving some background information about yourself. I will give you a little background info about me. I grew up in a residential neighborhood in Queens, attended private school and was sheltered as much as my parent's could possibly shelter me. I taught in a middle school in one of the poorest neighborhood's in Brooklyn and this is where I lost my innocence. (A sixth grader was raped by two eighth grade boys in the bathroom, one of my students, at the age of 14 lost her virginity to a 25 year old male from her church) Most of my students lived in the projects.
    I read the book For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow was Enuf, when I was in University. I also saw the play at a small theater here in Brooklyn. I have to admit that the play was a bit more hopeful than the film, perhaps because of the theatrics. I personally am not a fan of Tyler Perry but I really think he did a great job with this film. I see him in a different light now because, he usually directs comedic or romantic films. Perry really thought long and hard before accepting this gig he really took it seriously and I believe it was a success.
    I suggest you read the book its always a great experience to go to the original source. Also, have you seen the film Precious? This one is also based on a book and also a heavy hitter. I'm so long winded sometimes :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the film.

  3. I'm not going to see the movie. It's just too sad and depressing for me. I like uplifting movies and it seems like this movie is not one of those.

  4. This was an interesting post to read, as your idea and though process varied greatly from mine after watching the movie. You brought up a theme (male-bashing) to be present in Tyler Perry's movies, that is not something that I ever considered, and is an interesting fact to consider.
    That being said, I can understand why/how you felt somewhat...cheated because the movie ended with (what it seemed like to me) to be a beginning for alot of the characters. In a perfect world perhaps the stories would all have a perfect ending, but I appreciated the rawness of the movie, how it sort of took you for a ride then threw you out. What I took out of it was alot of tears, alot of hurt. Like yourself I couldn't place myself in any of the situations the characters were in, but I understand, I felt their pain, and have experienced similar emotional chaos in my own life. I feel like Tyler Perry opened the floodgates. He opened the gates for women to be able to begin to heal to be able to begin to build sisterhoods. This movie was beyond powerful, and I will be writing my own review of it on my blog shortly.

  5. Okay, I didn't read any of what you just wrote, but I really want to see this movie! lol

  6. Thanks for this very thoughtful review. I haven't seen the film yet, but when I went on rottentomatoes, the response from critics was less-than-stellar. It's nice to hear a different POV.

  7. Thanks ladies for dropping by. Your comments are appreciated.
    Monique: thanks for sharing some about you. Like your mine tried real hard to protect me and did a dang good job of it...maybe too good. LOL. I was clueless when I went off to college. Anyway, I'm the opposite of you--I've liked almost of all of Tyler Perry's movies and plays. I also agree that he did a great job with this movie. I don't really know too much about what critics are saying because I never turn on my television. I have seen Precious and it gives me chills too. Like you I've been exposed to some of these experiences second hand. I work in mental health and I hear stories like these on an almost daily basis. Stories like these are also common in rural areas. I'll be honest--I most likely won't read the book (at least not for a while). My work/training schedule does not allow much time for leisure reading. Maybe one day :)
    MommyGlow: Thanks for following. I look forward to reading your review soon.
    Keya: You have to do what's best for you. Like you, I usually like "uplifting" movies too but I had to go see this one to support Perry.
    Whitney: would love to know what you think after you see it.
    4Jedis: Make sure you bring lots of tissue
    ajgallion: thanks for following. I would love to know what you think after you've seen it.

    Isn't it interesting that so many people can watch the same movie and get so much out of it (even differing views)? That's pretty neat!

  8. Wow, this sounds like a very good but very "heavy" movie. I definitely want to see it. I think you can certainly empathize even without having gone through those experiences. In some way, we can always relate in some part to these characters even though our life paths have been quite different.

  9. I cried and cried and cried at the scene where those sweet precious beautiful babies were thrown out the window. My heart aches for the thousands of innocent children who are killed at the hands of abusive parents. The movie was way to heavy for me, so many sad stories and no happy endings :-(

  10. This is a thoughtful Review. Very well written.

    I don't know much about Tyler Perry, but he seem to be the number one of these painful stories.

  11. I'm with Keya on this one and especially after reading Amy's post about the babies. That would just be way to much for me. I did want to know more about this film though so thank for the review!

  12. Where does one begin? I have yet to see this film. I must also confess that I have never heard of this film before reading your bove post.
    The film sounds deep and thought-provoking.
    I also enjoyed reading about your upbringing.
    I am a child of priviledge and have no idea about the 'Projects' and so forth. I am also half Caribbean - the other half is European, th film sounds quite sad too, of I'm not mistaken.
    Must explore and find out more. Enjoy the weekend. Excellent read as always;-)

  13. Yes, I read your review with interest... especially about the bias regarding male flaws. But then I got thinking.... if you watch any real-life crime / crimewatch programme, at least 90% of the offenders are men. As unpalatable as it is, maybe it reflects real life?

    P.S. I do think we need to work out why males are more likely to offend, because I truly believe that no one is born evil!

  14. You know our backgrounds are similar, so I completely understand your POV. I have mixed feeling about Tyler Perry and I have mixed feelings about the string of "black" movies being released lately (Precious, For Colored Girls). It is a blessing that black actors are getting film work and getting noticed by mainstream America, but I am not sure these portrayals are helping the image of black men and women in this country. There are still some deep-rooted stereotypes and myths about black people that need to be challenged by some positive movies. I'm still undecided about seeing For Colored Girls. It took me months to see Precious and I am still not over that.

  15. I believe no matter what background you come from, we have all had struggles. No matter rich or poor, I believe we all have to overcome something. Great post Mrs. K!!

  16. Melissa, Jamie and Amy: Yah it was heavy but interesting. :)
    MsBabyPlan: You are so funny. Tyler Perry has also made some funny movies with good lessons. Some of them I find hilarious actually.
    FAAOF: Thanks for dropping by. Once you've explored more, I would love to know what you think about it.
    Annie: Interesting thought. I know I came across one study that showed that pre-marriage women are likely to offend but during marriage males are more likely. I can't remember the source right now but if I do I will let you know.
    Teresha: I do agree with you. Even after watching the movie days ago I still don't have a definitive feeling about it. It's interesting.
    Paul: Thanks. :)


I gladly welcome your comments/questions/requests/ suggestions. You may leave them here at any time. Have a blessed day!


Related Posts with Thumbnails