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Movie Review

For Colored Girls also known as “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf”

MPAA Rating: R for some disturbing violence including a rape, sexual content and language.

Reviewed by: Brian C. Johnson

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
2 hr.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
November 5, 2010 (wide—2,000+ theaters)
DVD: February 8, 2011
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lionsgate Films

poetry in the Bible

rape victims’ stories

Shame and Rape

POVERTY—What does the Bible say about the poor? Answer

Poor in the Bible

Pain and suffering

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer

Is Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?
Discover the good news that Jesus Christ offers

Life Before Birth
Have questions about life before birth, or a woman’s choice about pregnancy and abortion? Visit this beautiful online presentation. Ask questions; get reliable answers.

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Sex, Love & Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.

Women in the Bible

Biblical women with admirable character, include: Mrs. Noah, Mary (mother of Jesus), Esther, Deborah, and Milcah, daugher of Zelophehad.

Featuring: Thandie Newton (Tangie / Orange), Kimberly Elise (Crystal / Brown), Janet Jackson (Jo / Red), Loretta Devine (Juanita / Green), Anika Noni Rose (Yasmine / Yellow), Kerry Washington (Kelly / Blue), Michael Ealy (Beau Willie), Tessa Thompson (Nyla / Purple), Phylicia Rashad (Gilda), Whoopi Goldberg (Alice / White), more »
Director: Tyler Perry
Producer: 34th Street Films, FCG Productions, Lionsgate, The Tyler Perry Company, Ozzie Areu, Roger M. Bobb, Deborah Evans, Joseph P. Genier, Paul Hall, Tyler Perry, Nzingha Stewart
Distributor: Lionsgate Films

“Many voices. One poem.”

Tyler Perry goes art house? Known most for his comedic plays and movies featuring the ever-colorful Madea, a take-no-prisoners, tell-it-like-it-is, don’t mess with her grandmother (Perry in a body suit and wig), in his latest film, “For Colored Girls,” Perry takes his loyal fans to a new and much darker level, and in doing so, may have broadened his own skill as a writer and director.

This is a solidly different direction for Perry; unlike most of his films where his credits include writer, director, producer, and star, Perry the actor is missing from this movie. Don’t feel bad, though, because the cast is a veritable who’s who of Black Hollywood and music. The film stars the likes of Perry films’ veterans Kimberly Elise (“Madea’s Family Reunion”) and Janet Jackson (“Why Did I Get Married?” and “Why Did I Get Married Too?”) and a whole host of Hollywood notables: Whoopi Goldberg, Loretta Devine, Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose (“Dreamgirls,” “The Princess and the Frog”), Macy Gray, Kerry Washington, Phylicia Rashad (“The Cosby Show”), and Hill Harper (“CSI: NY”). In some way, not seeing Perry in this film raises its stature to something more than self-aggrandizement.

Additionally, “For Colored Girls” reintroduces the world to acclaimed poet and playwright, Ntozake Shange, whose brilliant poetry inspired the film (adapted for the screen by Perry). Shange’s work, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Isn’t Enuf” (written in the 1970s) chronicled the Black female experience in the gritty, urban jungle telling stories of rape, incest, domestic violence, love lost, found, and lost again, drug abuse, crime, pregnancy, and more. Perry adeptly uses Shange’s words throughout the movie, rather than reinterpreting for the contemporary audience. While a considerable strength of this film, using Shange’s poetry as dialogue may confuse the novice moviegoer and certainly Perry’s usual younger audiences, much like those who were taken aback by the 1990s William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” (starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes) which used the original 16th century language of the Bard.

Some have charged Perry as a backslider for his dramatic shifts of late. His theatrical roots are Christian; it can be said that it was his Christian audiences who made Perry a national figure, but many of his loyal fans have felt abandoned in the last couple of films he has created. The coarse language and mature subject material of films like “Why Did I Get Married Too” and “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” and “The Family that Preys” have turned many Christians away from his films; “For Colored Girls” outdoes them all—brief nudity, violence, language, rape, wanton sexuality, abortion, murder—definitely not your average Christian fare. In fact, some may find offense in the characterization of Christianity in the film. One character, Alice (Goldberg) is a religious fanatic who condemns everyone to hell for the slightest infraction that she deems unworthy, even to the point of trying to perform exorcisms on her daughters.

Yet, for all of this, “For Colored Girls” is a story that needed to be told and is a film that truthfully needs to be seen. This is not a family film, but mature Christians who want to see accurate portrayals of women’s struggles to find intimacy, freedom from abuse, overcoming the obstacles of poverty, hopelessness and despair, should watch this movie. They will find a rare honesty coupled with a celebration of women’s wit and wisdom. Because of its title and cast, some may label this movie a niche film targeting only a specific audience; that would be a mistake. “For Colored Girls” speaks to multiple audiences about strength in unity and the triumphant spirit that has taught women to survive horrible atrocities and inequalities throughout history.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Paradise or Pain? Why is the world the way it is?
Why is the world the way it is? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? (filled with oppression, suffering, death and cruelty) Answer
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Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—This is an AMAZING movie, hands down! It took me long to get the guts to watch, having read the book and seen scenes from the original movie, I was trepiditious, to say the least, because as much as I’m a big Tyler fan—his 1 or 2 not cool ones. Anyhoo, my girl got copies for all 5 of the crew and well lets just say don’t believe the Hype-naysayers hype that is. The movie freed my heart and eyes in a way they haven’t been in a years—the on going revelation being women give up so much and still somehow think in pink and music and butterflies and saturday night lights. I loved that every scene, not that it should have been comfortable, but still comfortably familiar. I have often wondered with the men we let into our homes and hearts as friends. “Do they really know? Do They? REALLY know? and this is the first time (this is the door to that) that they have a chance to figure out why we-women think feel, reason and act the way we do (and we still give too much).

I’m not “coloured” or American, but a woman of the world, as we are in this day and age of virtually no boundaries. The scenes, cursing, etc., are necessary to drive home the point—we are not Amish or living in a religious concave—our homes may be straight, we don’t curse, but stuff still happens around us and in our community. This production communicates thus in only the best way the themes here can be communicated, but still manages to not be vulgar.

I’m glad that the some commentators are shocked—that would cause them with all that uncomfortability to REALLY see what goes on around them and get involved to prevent some of the tragic things that could happen—that once in a while in our rose tinted cotton-candy world of comfortable indifference.

I’d go on and on about this movie, but I’d do like my girl and get copies for my other girls. But the best part would be if more men got to watch it—and get a foot in that door when we so often think when we turn around and sleep, or hold them, or kiss our loved ones “Does he really know—I mean REALLY??” 10/10 viewer rating: For REAL adults only
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—MumBi, age 27 (Kenya)
Neutral—I didn’t really know what to expect, I like Perry’s movies. I watched previews but what was actually shown in the movie doesn’t compare. I understand that it was made off a poem. The violence, nudity, fornication, abuse and rape, I was caught off guard by. I realize that these kinds of things happen everyday to people. I was torn up by the movie and the realness of it.

I would recommend adults only watch it. It gives you a glimpse into lives that we sometimes try to avoid, but life is just like this movie. Only Our Lord and Savior can save us from the world. And clearly they all needed a more moral rep for Jesus Christ. I would have liked to have seen that in the movie more. Only the blood of Christ can cover all that hurt, pain and suffering.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jessica, age 26 (USA)
Neutral—I know that film makers must tell a story and not everything in life is going to be squeaky clean. I just think that there are ways to tell a story on film without the nude scenes and profanity. This director had scenes in previous movies with heated, violent scenes as well as love scenes, and captured life events realistically; he didn’t have nude or explicit profanity to get his point across. Why now?

Perry has made a fortune off his Christian audiences and many will be disappointed to find that he went off track by placing nudity in this film. I think Mr. Perry is trying to get an Oscar nomination (using the same type content as the movie Precious). I understand that the the subject of rape, incest, murder etc does happen. When you consider yourself a Christian, you should have a different standard. People should be able to tell a christian by his or her works. I felt like Mr. Perry would change because of being around certain Hollywood elite who have no sense of moral or God fearing values. How is the world supposed to know who you represent when one does things that are contrary to holiness?

I feel that we as so called Christians take our God for granted thinking that he will accept anything, but righteousness. The world that we live in is far from holy, but do we have to compromise our christian values to fit in. It seems that Mr. Perry in on the road to compromising to fit in.

I hope that Mr. Perry will continue to tell stories that will help people to change whatever negative circumstance that they are going through, but not by making films that use extreme profanity, nudity to do so.

I hope that everyone will pray for Mr. Perry because it seems that the enemy is trying distort what Perry set off to do in the begriming of his career to strengthen the people with laughter, forgiveness, love and the hope that God is able to bring them out of darkness.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tracee, age 39 (USA)
Negative—I was upset at this movie because I expected more from Tyler Perry. The sexual immorality was outrageous!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Gregory R., age 30 (USA)
Negative—As a Christian, I was shocked and surprised by how many Christians I heard raving about this movie. I personally found the movie disturbing and disgusting. I literally wanted to walk out of the movie theater several times, but stayed because I went with guests.

The cursing was over the top, the rape scene was outrageous, Christianity was ridiculed and I had a strong feeling of uneasiness in my inner man. As a person who has seen abuse up close and personal I understand the importance of dealing with the issues brought up in this movie and exposing them through the media. Yet, there is a way to show that in a movie without exposing the viewer to unnecessary excesses, for example (showing a male naked from the back during a rape scene.) I do not recommended this movie for anyone to go and see.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality:
—Ebony, age 30 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—Tyler Perry movies have gone to the dogs. It’s totally garbage now. I watched for the first 10 min. and turned it off. I don’t even want to see it again… it’s a total turn off. The “F” word is used so much times; it’s disgusting. Tyler Perry, make some cleaner movies please; your movies are totally unchristian… clean your movies up!!!… So disgusted. I don’t recommend anyone that name the name of Christ to watch this.
—Richard, age 35 (Antigua)
Negative—I have not yet viewed this film, and don’t think I will, since all my christian friends were disappointed with the overall language and scenes of the movie. If that is so, Mr. Perry, I am very disappointed with you. “What would it profit you to gain the world and loose your soul.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: none
—Romaine, age 30 (Antigua)