Impregnated by her father as a child before having the child stripped from her and being sold into a loveless marriage to a cruel and buffoonish husband on a turn of the Twentieth Century Southern plantation, The Color Purple tells the story of one woman's decade's long crawl into education, self-respect, and happiness. Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of Alice Walker's novel is beautifully composed and aims for an old timey, Gone with the Wind feel. At its center Goldberg is a wonder, tenderly and impressively conveying much largely without the use of words. The story however meanders, is overwrought and melodramatic, and is not at the same level when focusing on other characters. Also its middle section really plods as the film becomes more and more confused. When it finally arrives at a climactic dinner sequence that should have been the highlight of film, is instead embarrassingly handled and would been more at home in some Eddie Murphy comedy. As for the rest of the cast, Oprah is pretty hard to stomach and Danny Glover is a caricature who doesn't know how to inhabit his character.
** 1/2 out of ****