For Colored Girls

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Nine African-American women deal with the challenges and personal conflicts of their lives.


Tyler Perry’s films, huge money-spinners though they are, have never enjoyed much success with those beyond their African-American target market. That’s unlikely to change with For Colored Girls, an awkward adaptation by writer-director Perry of Ntozake Shange’s award-winning 1975 play. An exploration of what it means to be a ‘woman of colour’ in modern America, it comprises a series of 20 poems (forced here to serve a more traditional narrative), recited by a cast of nine intertwined characters. Impeccably performed by a stellar cast, it is, nevertheless, the kind of spirituo-Christian feminist tract that, depending on your membership status in the Oprah Book Club, you will find either moving and empowering or insufferably pious guff.

Tyler Perry's drama is beautifully acted but Ntozake Shange's multiple, interlocking narratives ultimately defy his efforts to bring them to the screen.