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The Color Purple


Year: 1985 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Steven Spielberg 
Starring: Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey  
An image from The Color Purple

Starring Whoopi Goldberg as Celie, a poor black woman in America who is abused by both her parents and her husband, The Color Purple is an intense and moving drama about a girl who learns to find love and happiness in a bleak world. Based on the critically acclaimed book by Alice Walker, the film follows Celie’s story from when she’s a young girl being told she has an ugly smile which causes her to cover it up for the rest of her life. Her mother is cruel to her, she is sexually abused by her father and gives birth to two children who are instantly taken away from her. Then she is separated from her sister, the only friend Celie has in the world and married off to Albert: a local farmer who abuses Celie on a daily basis and after unsuccessfully courting her sister Nettie, bans all communication between the two girls.

There’s no denying this isn’t a film for the faint hearted. Celie is emotionally broken, isolated and symbolises the struggle of the double oppressed black woman. However, hope re-enters Celie’s life in the form of Shug Avery, a jazz singer who often stays with Albert. After a rocky start, Shug and Celie form a beautiful friendship that soon deepens into love as Shug stands up for Celie and teaches her to smile with pride- a very moving part in the film! Freed from Albert’s oppression, Celie comes into her own as a character and seeks out her children and leads a new autonomous life.

Both tragic and up-lifting, this film is definitely one of those films that you will never forget!

Lauren Howard

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Screenings of this film:

2014/2015 Autumn Term (35mm)
2016/2017 Spring Term (digital)