3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A remade Saga of the one-dimensional Woman?,
This review is from: For Colored Girls (DVD)This movie, based on a play with a similar name, which I saw in the 80s, appeared on TV last night. This updated version, more modern, has trimmed away some of the rough edges and returned with a flourish into a new repackaged reincarnated "Oprah-Tyler Perry like" genre. Essentially it is an intra-tribal conversation among black women about "the problem?" (Remember the problem as it was discussed in: "What's Love Got to do with it," Waiting to Exhale," Color Purple," and "Precious?" to name just the most obvious ones).
My assessment of them is that by constantly harping on the same exaggerated theme (to the exclusion of all others: that it is black men's irresponsibility that is responsible for all of the woes of black women), together they constitute a kind of emotional blackmail within the black tribe. It does this by introducing a crippling threat of a fifth rail or a fifth column into the "black-on-black internecine warfare" in our racist world. Only this time the war crimes are being committed by black women, first against their intended target, us, black men, but then also against the larger and unintended targets of the black race as a whole, as well as the boomerang effect that rebounds back to black women themselves.
In barely disguised form, this movie, as an integral part of the new Oprah-Tyler Perry inspired genre, appears as little more than another theater of the emotionally hysterical and absurd. As such, it amounts to yet another form of the intentional "emotional" and continued criminal profiling of and attempted destruction of black men's character." But this time the attack is occurring from within the black family itself. And in this sense, tragically this Oprah-Perry genre strategically links up with other "easy" racist anti-black male tropes within American society, whose sole purpose is openly and clearly to further darken and denigrate the black man's already much maligned reputation.
The dramas mentioned in the first paragraph above as well as this movie, all fit comfortably into the already prepared family album of the four-cornered mainstream American sex/race Kabuki dance. One album, the thickest of them all is labeled "black male bashing;" the other is labeled "black female victimology." Through this movie, black women (plus Tyler Perry) want the world to believe that "bashing the black man" and "black women playing the role of victim" are but different sides of the same coin. But apparently the world is not buying it?
At least from what we see in the most recent Pew Report on cross-racial dating. There we can see that the Oprah-Tyler sanctioned sport of "black male bashing" apparently is not working very well at all because black men, who date women other than black women are doing quite well despite being constantly reviled and castigated by black women. In fact black men with a college education are about seven times more likely to marry outside the race than similarly situated black women.
At some point black women must "woman-up" and (Perry must "man-up") and realize that the Oprah-Tyler strategy, deployed to the hilt in this movie, is not working (not even for Oprah) and learn to stand on their own two feet in the open market, without leaning back on black male bashing as a prop to advance their insecurity driven causes. More importantly, there is a boomerang effect of this incessant black male bashing: It apparently causes eligible men from other races to think twice about dating or marrying black women? At least this is what the Pew study shows: that men the world over see (for a whole host of reasons) black women as being the least desirable women in the world to date or marry, and they are voting with their feet. Indeed, why would any man want a woman from a group that incessantly bashes the men of her own race? It is well known that Chinese women do not much care for Chinese men either, but has anyone ever heard one say an unkind word about them in public, or launch a national campaign of movies and dramas to rail against them? I don't think so?
The two-pronged message of this movie could not be more unsubtle and "in your face." It is that: (1) Black men are the "Kryptonite" of American society: all women (not just black women) should beware of them and thus be forewarned, as there is an ego-destroying, emasculating, sexual predator let loose on American society, it is called the generic black male? He is a culprit like the world has never seen. His disguises include that of a quite unassuming but slick brutal rapist, a deranged double baby-killer, a father who engages in incest with his daughters, a mentally-deranged psychopath, plus an assortment of alcoholics, drug abusers, wife-beaters, and "down-low" homosexuals who purposefully transmit HIV and other venereal diseases. The men characterized in such vile ways are all some black women's fathers, brothers, uncles, sons and husbands, and would also include the current President of the USA
The companion and complementary message is (2) that black women are the self-declared heroes in a tragic black-on-black drama of their own making, one whose truths and facts they alone control. The problem however is that even though they construct, write the scripts and control the facts of the drama, they never own it or take responsibility for how it evolves or for any of its bad outcomes. And as is usual for them, black women (like God herself) take credit for all of the good and hides from all the responsibility for any of the bad. They are the only ones in their own self-made dramas who are not responsible for the actions that take place within it?
How can this be? If we look carefully at the multi-pronged but facile plot of this drama and take it at face value, at the very least it makes the self-serving self-portrait that black women paint of themselves, confusing and contradictory? Here we see that the black women sees herself as guileless, guiltless, non-manipulative, un-controlling, chaste, sweet, innocent and the virginal cardboard cutouts of "last year's white woman." Onto this self-flattering cardboard picture we see reflected back and grafted onto it the rules, values, habits and desires of same prototype: last year's white counterpart.
If one reads the tea leaves in the subtext of the plot to this movie carefully, it is easy enough to see that it is taken from the playbook of "last year's white women?" Today's black woman's reality is just the left over reality of last year's white woman, yearning to get played out in real time: And as is so expertly shown here (the acting is simply incredible) it is nothing more and nothing less than that. At its worse black woman reality is a piggyback reality steeped in fantasy: It is a loose collage of overly sexualized and slutty images, leaning heavily towards the haughty and glamorous, glittery but always empty pop-culture norms. In one scene they were actually angry that black women were not chosen to be "dancing hos" in a hip-hop video? (Jeez, please give me a break?) Or at its best, it is just a cheap imitation and caricature of high-white society - overly moralized but a plasticized TV version of it hyped with self-made black women delusions laid-on.
The saddest part of all this is that from this movie, one does not get a feeling that there is such a thing as a "normal black woman," or even a "normal black woman image?" Or even worse yet, we do not get the impression that there is even a distinctive or unique black woman humanity? From this movie all we see is that from top to bottom, from mother to daughter, from hos to nuns, this is a reality scavenged from the bottom of the American white woman barrel. It is impossible to make a mistake on this point as there are multiple vignettes coming at the same cheap messages from different angles and vantage points. The message in the subtext is as clear at the attack on black men. It spells cheap, cheap, cheap.
And thus it would not be an exaggeration of the movie's main message to suggest that the black woman's reality is almost all rooted in a quiet kind of smoldering envy of "reflected white women glory, sexual desires and fantasies." In short, judging by what is seen in relief in this drama, black women compose their own script of meanings from the debris left behind by last year's white woman, meanings that when they are all arranged in order and pasted together do not quite add up to a single complete picture of a human being, not to mention of an image of a proud and heroic woman?
How can the producers of this "faux drama" be so mindlessly careless as not to realize that any thinking viewer would be able to see through this tissue paper thin chest-beating pseudo-feminist bombast to the real pain that lies beneath it all? Put simply, black women have stepped into quick sand of their own making, and now they are trying to pull themselves out of it so that they can build a castle out of the sand that they are currently drowning in? And they want us black men, and the whole black race to join them in their drowning ceremony.
To this, I say no thanks. But such great acting put in the service of such a cheap and shoddy project. Boy what a waste, three stars for the acting.