The Color Purple
Dir. Steven Spielberg. 1985, 154 mins. 35mm. With Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Margaret Avery, Adolph Caesar. In adapting Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel about a poor black woman’s journey to self-actualization in the rural South of the early twentieth century, Spielberg fashioned an emotionally overwhelming, decades-spanning tearjerker that manages to be both an old-fashioned epic and a more modern-minded tale of female indomitability. With Allen Daviau’s cinematography indebted to the work of John Ford, the film is a nonstop visual feast, and features an ever-intensifying central performance by Goldberg that is a wonder to behold.