Jen's Rating:

2.0

Points for trying.

Who’s In It: Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Kimberly Elise, Anika Noni Rose, Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington, Phylicia Rashad, Loretta Devine, Tessa Thompson, Michael Ealy, Omari Hardwick, Hill Harper, Khalil Kain, Richard Lawson, Macy Gray

The Basics: Tyler Perry takes a serious pause from the Madea hijinks and domestic dramaramas to go artsy with his own adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s 1975 feminist stage play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf. In the original “choreopoem,” several unnamed female characters explored modern womanhood in abstract monologue, each represented by a different color. In Perry’s soap opera version the women have names, jobs, and their own torrid back stories and pass through the same Harlem walk-up as they despair through every possible hardship under the sun, including rape, abortion, domestic abuse, religious fanaticism, sexual deviancy, poverty, infidelity, infertility, loss, and the hot button issue of African-American men on the down low.

What’s The Deal: Frequently moving but just as frequently alienating, Tyler Perry’s take on Shange’s play is challenging material. A certain audience may be up for that challenge – go prepared for characters to slip in and out of spoken word monologue while addressing the camera and each other, for starters -- but it’s Perry who ultimately falls short. The stifling melodrama, fleshed out from Shange’s play so that characters interconnect in the most annoying ways, succumbs to cliché with abandon; there’s the pregnant teenager with a religious mom, the controlling career woman with a philandering trophy husband, the abused pushover who can’t bring herself to leave a bad relationship, even for the sake of her children. Perry’s worst offense, however, is in misjudging the line between theatricality and realism; he wants it both ways, juxtaposing kitchen sink grit with awkward, stagey digressions that muddle the rules of the world. That means even the cracked-out abortionist (Macy Gray) starts spewing verse at her makeshift operating table and the whole thing ends with a literal group hug, and whatever hopeful curiosity and patience you had for Perry’s daring Mexican soap opera of an experiment will have bled out by the time the credits roll.

Okay, I Dug: Macy Gray’s crazy abortion-lady. She’s terrifying and perfectly cast, punctuating everyone else’s seriousness with so much frightening, over-the-top swagger that she makes Whoopi Goldberg’s religious fanatic hoarder seem normal and harmless.

What Else Almost Makes It Bearable: Perry’s actresses manage to find the truth in their clichéd characters – even if they then live in it, suffer in it, and wring it dry until there are no more tears to shed between the lot of them. Highlights include the unsinkable Loretta Devine, downright heroic as she faces a doomed affair and takes Janet Jackson’s haughty magazine editrix to task; Thandie Newton, who lays everything bare, including her body, as an embittered sex addict resentful of both her mother (Whoopi Goldberg) and her naïve little sister (Tessa Thompson); Anika Noni Rose, buoyant and graceful as a dancer attacked by a man she trusts; and Kimberly Elise, who wins the suffering game with her heartbreaking turn as a mother haunted by tragedy that unites the entire cast.

The Overriding Message Of For Colored Girls, CliffsNotes Version: Men suck. Spoiler alert: They’ll cheat on you, impregnate you, beat you, abandon you, invite themselves over for dinner, take their PTSD rage out on you, and the only thing they’ll ever give you in return for your loyalty and love is heartbreak and maybe an STD or two.

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Comments (27)

TeeTee - 11-05-2010 6:51 PM
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I enjoyed the movie. I could relate to the characters. It told the story of many African-American women. I left the story with my heart heavy. I think it is some of his best work. It helped renew me and made me re-commit myself to being there for my sisters.

TRACI - 11-05-2010 7:48 PM
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I SAW THE MOVIE AND IT RELATES TO EVERY WOMAN I'VE ENCOUNTERED. I AM AN AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN AND THIS HIT MORE THAN COLORED GIRLS! THIS WAS A GREAT MOVIE. THANX TYLER:)

Paulette - 11-05-2010 8:07 PM
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I loved the Movie. Tyler Perry has his own audience, and we love and support you...no matter what!

Big A - 11-05-2010 8:35 PM
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The movie was great! Im an afro.american male. It forces u 2 luk in the mirror and c the ROOTS of certain issues that r among most women and me. And ask da question how have u contributed or NOT, directly or indirectly 2 da issues that haunt our community in particular! Great movie! Gud job Tyler!

Deborah - 11-06-2010 3:32 PM
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I saw this movie as not an attack on black men or the suffering of the black woman, but what women endure not matter the color. Color Girls came out originally in the 70's when the cry of women were not heard. As a return to those same type of situtations; isn't it sad that women are still not being heard. Good job for reminding us that we have to do better in our relationships. By the way I am a 50 something African American woman who read the book, saw the play, and now the movie. You really can't tell this story in two hours.

dianne - 11-06-2010 3:47 PM
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The movie was interesting perspective on the book of poems. Great movie! Great cast! Come ready to cry, laugh, and reflect on life's challenges.

flw - 11-06-2010 7:58 PM
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A swing and a miss. This movie fluctuates between reality and beat nick. The poetry close ups made what should have been serious situations almost comical. It was a dark, deep, scary, at times ridiculous, depiction of what people already assume black women are. With the constant screaming, scratching, clawing, crying, begging, beating and bashing of one another, it was yet another reason not to waste time and money on another Tyler Perry fiasco.

kweenbee - 11-07-2010 12:01 PM
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I saw this movie with two girlfriends. We are all black. This is perhaps the worst movie I've seen since the Toni Morrison movie Oprah was in. Can't remember the name, right now. "Colored Girls" was full of down-trodden, well-worn stereotypes of black men and women. If that's wasn't bad enough, there was no redeeming story. Out of eight or nine strong black women characters, Tyler Perry couldn't make one who's life is really worth living? Is everybody's life really that bad? Please.

Lady T - 11-07-2010 5:59 PM
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I really enjoyed the movie. It was a deep emotional movie. I left the movie with a heavy heart. Its a movie that men and women can go see and have a conversation for hours. I will always support Tyler Perry. Keep up the GOOD WORK!!!!!

Lady T - 11-07-2010 6:00 PM
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I really enjoyed the movie. It was a deep emotional movie. I left the movie with a heavy heart. Its a movie that men and women can go see and have a conversation for hours. I will always support Tyler Perry. Keep up the GOOD WORK!!!!!

Ali - 11-08-2010 9:15 AM
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Although this movie may not appeal to or be for everyone, it will appeal to and reach someone....if just one...mission accomplished!take what you can from this movie....think about it, try to understand it, use it, apply it. Great Work Tyler and Thank You!

Deborah - 11-08-2010 8:36 PM
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This movie was a period film; it does not represent 2010. The movie was done very well. Keep up the good work Tyler and don't let thoughs "who never relate" try to steel your thunder. I did not like Precious because I didn't relate to it but it was still a good film. Someone either-- is or has-- a girlfriend that is represented in one of these characters. The poetry and films were easy for me to follow; therefore, I don't agree with some of your critics.

Suhailah - 11-09-2010 12:24 PM
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The great thing about paying your money for a movie is that you get to decide for yourself if the movie was good or not. Dave and Jen can take a hike. I am not the biggest Tyler Perry fan but he did a great job on this one. Also to everyone who is African American Quit acting like every movie has to represent only the best of us, do white people complain every time Adam Sadler and Will Ferrell make them look bad or stupid??

Shawna - 11-09-2010 4:43 PM
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I saw this movie and yes its very deep and emotinal,and negative and targets our(black women) lifestyles, but thats how it is. We are surrounded by negativity and junk thats why we can relate so well to these stories. This movie is actually a lesson to learn from, as to why not to get involved into certain situations, if possible). Even though this movie targets our community, we must not forget were not the only ones who go through life hard, its just that our dirty laundry airs everyday, while others it left in the dryer!!!Good Job Tyler I feel where your coming from...

meek - 11-11-2010 10:33 AM
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unfortunately, tyler perry is the epitome of "when the blind lead the blind, we all fall in a ditch" and sadly enough a black person or anyone of that matter cant not like this movie without it being met with "you just hating" tyler perry since he is worth millions, cant do no wrong in the eyesight of some people. this movie was terrible. it as the same ole mess he been doing for the last 10 years. the plot was predictable. the dialogue was simple and those poems were just forced. and it was corny how tyler seemed to want to give every big actor in the movie her turn to try and get a oscar, the teary eyed scenes were forced as well. tyler perry is a pimp who pimps the hurt and emotions of black women for his financial gain.

Meg - 11-11-2010 10:27 PM
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Anyone who watched this NEEDS to read Ntozake Shange's choreopoem, "for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf". Perry completely misses the point and even diffuses a chance for real discussion on the topics involved by (for AN example) having men as actors in the movie and their characters consequently monopolizing reviews. The original work is devoid of the physical appearance of men, instead focusing on the womens' stories. On a BASIC level, this responds (in part) to the 70s when women were largely ignored in the Black Arts Movement. What stake does he have in ignoring this structure? Why couldn't Perry create a movie, true to the original, that ONLY depicts women? How would that generate real controversy?

Timothy - 11-12-2010 3:06 AM
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Jen: You too should get a new job and a clue. One point to show how stupid your findings are... If this is all cliche and all men just "suck" is the message of this film then why is it these issues and problems still occur every day in black (and white) communities? Imporve this website by getting another job, please.

Movie_Reviews_by_Gretchen - 11-12-2010 11:05 AM
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Anyone who gives this film a poor rating simply doesn’t “GET IT.” Perry has created a whole new genre. Superb IN A NUT SHELL >>For Colored Girls takes you through a short span of time when seven women attempt to deal with some very dark emotional relationships. WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL>>Perry has created a whole new genre. He was able to masterfully craft a compelling movie out of a play of award winning poems. MY VIEW>>You get superb performances from the cast throughout this intense drama. The poems play a significant role in framing the mind set and passion. SOCIAL NETWORKING>>The film will make you think of your own experiences, when completing this sentence: “My love is too ….. “ SURPRISES>>No role or cameo by Madea. Altho

Jamaican Girl - 11-14-2010 3:31 PM
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I DON'T THINK THIS MOVIE NEEDS GOOD COMMENTS FROM JEN or any other critic. If it saves one woman or digs one woman out of a ditch then... mission accomplished.

katy - 11-17-2010 5:25 PM
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I am a african american woman and i went to see this with my best friend. i have to say this movie was "Awful", if it was an original Play or Book it should have stayed as such! I enjoy most of Tyler's movies, but this one i wished i had listened to my sister and other female friends who warned me not to go see the movie it wasn't good! so, i do support Tyler but this one i have to say he should have left alone!

Lori - 11-18-2010 6:32 PM
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I have not even seen this movie but find it interesting reading people's reactions. I appreciate Tyler Perry because he is expressing his compassion and spiritual quest to support people who struggle. Others need not go to his movies. That is my opinion. He, himself, went through an abusive childhood, so he is not capitalizing on womens' struggles. It is a human issue. Don't you think that abusers struggle too? Anyway, people's reactions to this make me want to see it more.

Brianna - 11-19-2010 6:43 PM
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Well i am about to go see the movie and i think that if you dont understand that movies are made from the directors point of view then you need to stop watching movies. Tyler Perry has been abused therefore he is putting his emotions and experiences into the movie. The same way authors of a book put there experiences and emotions into there writing. So i think that if you have enjoyed his movies before and you dont like this one then you are not getting the actual message that Tyler is trying to get across.

angel1974 - 11-30-2010 6:50 PM
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I love Tyler Perry. I hate poetry, but I knew going in the movie is based on a book of poetry regarding some terrible experiences of in this case African American women. The movie I can take or leave. It was good but sad. The actresses are all excellent!! This is for sure a WOMAN's story. Doesn't matter the race. I've met too many women across all backgrounds and ethnicities who have gone through similar in one way or another. The depictions happen every day all over, sadly enough in many women's lives. I think people who want to view this as male bashing are people who are either very naive to the realities too many women face, or are ashamed of the fact that many women face these things and don't want to be lumped in or thought of as lump

B - 12-19-2010 1:34 AM
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This movie sucks why is it alway poor black women what the hec is wrong with this shit can be considered a movie its full of sadness who wants to watch a movie like that are u for real it's like the movie rent bit with the poor me plot an black girls not dancing I love Tyler perrys movies but not this!!!

Angela - 1-14-2011 3:28 PM
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When Black Women stop being so needy of a pity party every five minutes. When they for once realize that lot of the thing that happen in their relationships have an lot to due with their action. When they learn that bringing all that negativity and drama into relationships leads to shorter than expected happiness. When being a victim or a single parent is no longer a badge of honor (or confused with being strong)... I think some of the depressing songs we hear on our radios and these movies will stop or a least calm down a bit. But for now its seems "Our Women" are loving their victim status. And any and everybody will be blamed for all these fatherless children and disfunctional relationship. Strength is not being a victim. Woman up!!

Jason - 2-14-2011 1:33 PM
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Seeing this movie...now I know what hell must be like.What a wanton unrelenting misery fest this was. No I wasn't moved, I didn't cry. I endured this over the top emotional nightmare. We got it already like every other Black female-driven movie it's the same old crap--Black women perfect/Black men the devil. Whatever and next.

Crystal - 5-10-2013 6:57 PM
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This movie was phenomenal. Two questions for those who didn't enjoy the film: 1. Have you actually READ the choreopoem "For Colored Girls"? If you liked the book you will love the film. Granted, the material and presentation isn't for everyone, but I thought it was a beautiful story. Tyler Perry did an amazing job adapting the words to the screen. 2. What is so hard about accepting that some people do indeed have very miserable lives? The farther back in American history we travel (the book was written in the 70's) the more difficult it is for women--especially black women--to create lives for themselves that even remotely resembles "ideal". This is a wonderful story of how a GROUP of women--not all women--learn to create space

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