"Being alive and being a woman is all I got, but being colored is a metaphysical dilemma I haven't conquered yet."
Writer/director Tyler Perry is probably used to taking heat from the critics for his films, but he can rest knowing that his latest movie For Colored Girls, the film adaptation of the 1975 critically-acclaimed play "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf" by Ntozake Shange, is his best film yet. Even though that might not be attributed to his direction or writing.
Chronicling the lives of nine black women who must struggle to overcome extraordinary circumstances, For Colored Girls is fueled by the amazing performances from a stellar cast, with heart wrenching performances especially from Kimberly Elise and Anika Noni Rose (who are hopefully not forgotten come award season). They and Physicia Rashad, Loretta Devine, Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington and Tessa Thompson share the moving stories of women whom life--and love--has beaten down for a reason they don't understand, but will soon learn will only make them stronger and more capable in the end.
Take for instance Crystal (Elise), who wants to believe that the love she has for a man runs far beyond he shell he has become. Jo (Jackson), who is so in love with perfection that she nearly shatters when she finds out perfection doesn't love her back. Juanita (Devine), who can't stop running back to a man who spends most his time running away. Yasmine (Rose), whose shining light was nearly turned off for good after an eye-opening incident threatened to ruin her. Kelly (Washington), who day after day yearns for something she's forced to watch others just throw away. Tangie (Newton), who doesn't love herself enough to love another. Her sister Nyla (Thompson), who has the world ahead of her though it's just shy of her reach. Their mother Alice (Goldberg), who uses the power of repenting on her own children to cover her own sins. And Gilda (Rashad), who's made and overcome her own share of mistakes must decide whether to watch or help those who continue to make theirs. Together they each make up the colors of dimly lit rainbow. Their stories aren't just for women of color, but they're for any woman who's ever had to face adversities and find it in their hearts to push forward.
Though the original production was inspired by a collection of twenty poems by Shange, Perry really could have done a better job of leaving out some of the poetic jargon from the play and adapting a more dialogue-friendly script. Consecutive (and overlapping at times) long-winded, flowery monologues tend to leave film audiences idle, which does a a bit of a disservice to a powerful story that anyone who's ever given until it hurt can appreciate.