“The Color Purple” will make its streaming debut on Max on Feb. 16.
The movie musical remake from Warner Bros. and director Blitz Bazawule is up for an Academy Award and received two SAG Award nominations and 17 NAACP Image Award nods. It stars Fantasia Barrino, who reprises the role of Celie after playing her on Broadway in 2007, as well as Danielle Brooks, who received a Tony nomination for the Broadway role and is now competing for a best supporting actress Oscar.
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Colman Domingo, Taraji P. Henson and Halle Bailey also star in “The Color Purple,” which boasts producers including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Scott Sanders and Quincy Jones, and is a film adaptation of the Broadway musical, which itself adapted the 1985 Spielberg film based on Alice Walker’s novel.
“Spielberg did justice to Alice Walker’s Pulitzer-winning novel, but he also left room to expand and improve,” wrote Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge in his review of the 2023 film. “Now, nearly four decades later, a rousing new version arrives from director Blitz Bazawule.”
He continued, “Instead of rejecting what came before, the Ghanian filmmaker embraces and builds upon it, collaborating with Spielberg, Quincy Jones and Oprah Winfrey to update the material for the next generation … The main change, apart from a cast with impossibly big shoes to fill, comes from incorporating the songs written for the Broadway musical — which also brings an additional freedom, as those numbers allow the story to transcend the characters’ harsh reality.”
In her November Variety cover story, Barrino talked about her trepidation in returning to the role of Celie. In fact, she initially said no to the movie role, turning down Winfrey herself before changing her mind. “I’m grateful that I did not allow those voices in my head to hold me back from stepping into this woman’s shoes,” Barrino said. “It was important that I did.”
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