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For Colored Girls

Gail Choice | 11/3/2010, 5 p.m.

"For Colored Girls" is destined to become one of the most memorable movies ever made about the modern day Black woman. The casting in itself is enough to make you stand up and cheer, and the fact that this 1974 choreopoem is still relevant today begs us to ask the question how far has the Black woman truly come?

The original story, titled "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf" debuted as a stage play combining poetry, dance and music. Working its way from California to New York, Ntozake Shange's play, within two years became a Broadway sensation, winning Obie and Tony awards. And now producer/writer/director Tyler Perry has adapted this landmark work for the silver screen.

The poetry aspect of the film is minimal; sometimes it's hard to grasp exactly what they mean, because the language used is colorful and poetic, however, Tyler integrates the vivid language of Shange's poems into a contemporary narrative that explores what it means to be a woman of color in America today.

"For Colored Girls" tells the story of nine different women, linked together by geography, necessity and professions. Each individual story is as compelling as the next, and the outstanding performances leave you spellbound. And many women will see the unmistakable reflection of their past or current lives, big and bold on the silver screen.

Janet Jackson, Loretta Devine, Kimberly Elise, Thandie Newton, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Tessa Thompson, Kerry Washington and Whoopie Goldberg hand in slam-dunk performances. Macy Gray also makes a very disturbing appearance. Crises, heartbreaks and crime test the women to their limits, and each is eventually forced to take responsibility for what happens in her life.

The men starring in the film include Michael Ealy, Omari Hardwick, Hill Harper, and Richard Lawson. Their roles vary, of course, ranging from a very broken, disturbed war vet, to a charming, handsome guy any woman would want to date. Then there's the loving husband ready to stand by his woman, and there's one who takes his woman for granted.

Perhaps the most disturbing brother is the one who totally blindsides you ... he's represented too.

"For Colored Girls" is not about bashing the Black man. It simply tells our story; stories that many Black women carry buried deep in their hearts, too ashamed or too angry to share with others. This movie opens a window to our hearts, begging us to cry out, and see light ... the light in us.

Tyler Perry has come a long way as a director. How he handles difficult scenes in this film will have you applauding his skills. A number of scenes tug at your soul, and Perry manages to pull them off flawlessly.

Wilson Morales of Blackfilm.com quotes Perry as saying, "Making a film based on 'For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf' is a dream come true for me," Perry said about the project. "Ntozake Shange's play is a magnificent tribute to the strength and dignity of women of color, and I think audiences of all generations will be able to recognize and embrace the experiences these women represent. Creatively, this movie is one of the most exciting undertakings of my career."

Make sure you don't miss "For Colored Girls;" you will laugh, cry, and hug your mother, it's not just a movie ... it's an experience.

"For Colored Girls" opens in theaters Friday.