Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls (based on the play ‘For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf’) opens today. While there isn’t enough white guilt in the world to make me want to see a two-hour extended slam poem about rape and abortion, that doesn’t mean we can’t still have a little fun with it. Here at FilmDrunk, there’s this game we like to play where we take a movie we probably aren’t going to see (like this one), and try to recreate the plot using only expository quotes (no analysis!) from the reviews.
Are you ready? Set phasers to ‘Daddy Issues.’
The play was 20 narrative poems (a collective “choreopoem”) declaimed by seven actresses, each of them assigned a rainbow colour. Admirer Tyler Perry sensibly provides the structure of a Harlem tenement house. (TheStar)
Perry adds a few more characters, notably male ones, and he handles the play’s poetry like the slams of the 1990s, allowing figures to simply throw down rhymes as the mood strikes and the narrative allows. (TheStar)
Thandie Newton is Tangie, a sexually aggressive, emotionally unsatisfied cocktail waitress who uses promiscuity as a drug to ward off pain. She lives next door, in an old apartment building, to Phylicia Rashad’s Gilda, (SF Chron/AV Club)
…a neighbor whose nosiness is revealed to be compassion, Philadelphia Inquirer
…and across the hall from Crystal, who has the biggest cross to bear. Her lover, a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress and alcoholism, is a danger to her and her two kids. (SF Chronicle)
Tangie, in turn, lives above her mother, a hoarder, cult member, and mother to a bright, college-bound girl who isn’t sure what to do about her unplanned pregnancy. (AV Club)
Nyla’s dance teacher is introduced as annoyingly chipper and then brutally abused before our eyes. (Time)
One woman blames her lousy mothering skills on the lack of a proper inheritance from her late grandfather. (Toronto Star)
Kerry Washington is an infertile social worker desperate for a baby. (Time)
Yasmine explains that though she knew the man who raped her, “if you’ve been seen in public wit him/danced one dance … pressin charges will be as hard/as keepin yr legs closed/while five fools try to run a train on you…” (LA Times)
Devine gets the “stuff” poem, a wonderful, joyous creation that in part goes like this: “somebody almost run off wit alla my stuff/ & i waz standin there/ lookin at myself/ the whole time…waz a man fastern my innocence.” (Chicago Tribune)
It is one thing to hear, unforgettably in Shange’s original, a woman describing her boyfriend dangling their two young children out an apartment window, and then letting go. It is quite another to see this visualized, with the music and the melodrama pumping up the emotion. (Chicago Tribune)
“HIV is not the death sentence it used to be,” someone says at one point. (Chicago Tribune)
…rape, child murder, closeted homosexuality, cult brainwashing, (Metromix)
….a drunken Macy Gray performing a back-alley abortion, (Time)
…a rape scene cut against an opera aria, (AV Club)
…contrasting the assault with a shot of meat frying on a stove. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
The film cuts back and forth between a doomed couple silently watching the performance (the husband is on the down low) and another character being savagely date-raped. (Time)
The centerpiece tragedy that unites Crystal, Jo, Gilda and Juanita is so incompetently and appallingly staged that the film literally jumps the shark before your eyes. (Metromix)
I know, I know, that last quote wasn’t expository. I left it in there because, while I suspect he was misusing the word “literally”, the possibility that the film strip actually jumps over a shark in the theater is the only thing that would get me to pay my way into it.
PS: The title of The SF Chron’s review was “Poetry in Emotion.”
I want more like this!
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