The movie is based on the popular 1975 play For Colored Girls Who Consider Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, which is really a series of poems performed by different women characters.
Though I have not seen the play performed, but I have seen several of Tyler Perry’s movies.
I like what he’s trying to do, or what I think he’s trying to do – and I certainly like seeing black actors in meaty roles – but the broad humor and melodrama of Perry’s films erases all subtlety and employs too many clichés. I think those elements diminish the power of his stories and limit his audience.
When I say that I sort of like what he’s trying to do, I mean two things. First, I like that he is making films about black experience. There’s not much of that on the big screen. Second, there are times when Perry’s exercises in melodrama and artificiality make me think a little about the 50s melodramas of Douglas Sirk, films like Imitation of Life, and I’m crazy about Sirk’s movies for their subversion just beneath the glossy surface. The subtext makes those films so rich.
In the movie For Colored Girls, I enjoy the performances of actors like Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, Loretta Devine, and more, but the characters are somewhat one-dimensional.
I don’t recommend this film for a general audience. I think there are many people who may find it therapeutic because of some of their personal experiences, and I also think that cultural critics like me should see it to know what’s out there and how audiences are responding to it, but, on the other hand, I think there are other viewers who will not relate to the film and, in fact, will be put off by its melodrama.