The Color Purple
By: Cameron Smith
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, Margaret Avery
When discussing the quintessential Spielberg films, seldom do I hear this film pop into discussion. I often hear Jaws, E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones series, Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me if you Can, Munich, Minority Report, etc. -- all are great films, but they have overshadowed The Color Purple in discussion. It's likely (to some degree) racial bias, but nonetheless, I didn't even know this film existed until I was a teenager; and this is coming from someone raised on Spielberg films! Considering my recent fascination in [with] Black culture, vernacular, and music, I wished I had seen this film a lot sooner and didn't miss its beginning during our critical viewing. Some may argue that this is simply a "black" film about racism and meant to plant white guilt, but it is much more than that...
From my understanding, the story of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) is simply a showcasing of human aspirations and drive, enforcing that no matter how much hate one endures, there is always a better day coming -- a common theme in the African-American church (an important device in this film), the awe-inspiring story of Frederick Douglass and the Civil Rights movements. The film also includes (in spite of some historical inaccuracies) wonderful odes to African-American Blues, Gospel, and Work songs, along with the exhilarating African drum music. I love the cameos from John Lee Hooker, harmonica wizard Sonny Terry ("whoop, time to go!"), and Laurence Fishburne holding a National steel guitar. With re-watching this film and picking up more details, this film will probably be included -- with Jaws, Temple of Doom, E.T., and Saving Private Ryan -- in my list of favorite Spielberg films, and soundtracks!