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This is an extremely tough film to get through. This isn’t hard to watch because it’s bad, it’s hard to watch because it deals with absolutely horrific issues that plague some women in our society. For Colored Girls tells the stories of different black women and shines light on things that no woman should ever have to endure. This is one of those films where it’s not pleasant, but it’s necessary. So many women, black women in particular, go through things like this and one thing films can do is bring the ugliest of things into the conversation so as to try to address them and ultimately stop them.
The performances given by this ensemble cast are insanely great and they do a lot in making what’s presented feel real. I’m just amazed when actors can give performances like this… performances that require such deep emotion and pain. The acting by Anika Noni Rose, Kimberly Elise, Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, Kerry Washington, and Loretta Devine is near flawless. These women are all tasked with playing characters going through some amount of intense pain, some more so than others, but every one of these roles requires an insane amount of talent and dedication.
Well, talent and dedication are the exact things that these actresses bring to these roles. There were times when I felt like I had been socked in the gut by the heart wrenching performances happening onscreen. I usually go through every actor in a film who gives a good performance but For Colored Girls simply has too many to go through individually – and they all went above and beyond. Of course what they are saying in a scene is very important and I don’t want to diminish that, but something I found so captivating was just watching these women’s facial movements. The acting these women can do just with their face is breathtaking.
The biggest issue that is focused on here is abuse. Almost all of these women suffer abuse by men in their lives and I appreciated the way this was handled. We are shown the raw effect this horrific unimaginable abuse has on the victims and that’s so important to display. The abusers should not be given a lot of screen time because how an abuser feels or handles things is not important, once you commit those acts, your right to feelings and being heard flies out the window.
For Colored Girls keeps the worst of the abuse implied and only show us enough to understand what’s going on and that is smart. Physical and sexual abuse is nothing to linger on. When it’s necessary to the story you should show enough for the audience to get the picture then move along. We’re shown how some women try to ignore it until it’s too late and unfortunately how some are affected long-term. A theme that is threaded throughout this film that is of the utmost importance is that it’s not the victims fault AND that we are stronger TOGETHER.
These women talking to one another and providing each other with comfort is where the love comes in. Some things in life are truly so heart wrenching that the pain may never fully go away, but if you have people around you that show you love… it makes life so much easier. I really loved a few select scenes that involve these women talking to each other because it showed abused women finding MUCH NEEDED peace and comfort from others like them. For Colored Girls does right by telling these stories and by giving these women some redemption, redemption they discover from banding together.
Amongst all this good, there is one thing I thought could’ve been done better and that was the poetry. There are times when a scene is interrupted with poetry, when the dialogue is paused in order for characters to deliver a poem of sorts. I understand the concept behind this and while in one case in particular it is effective, overall, I thought it was slightly awkward and to be honest I thought the dialogue was far more impactful that the poetry.
For Colored Girls is a film I’ll most likely never watch again simply because of how heartbreaking it is, but I’m damn glad that I did see it because of how well done it is. The performances are incredible and the script (while it has some flaws) is written with so much care for the subject matter at hand.
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