Today, Tyler Perry’s adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s groundbreaking choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf hits theaters nationwide. No doubt sisters from coast-to-coast can’t wait to get their ticket and weigh in on Perry’s handling of the classic.

When word spread that Perry would be directing the film, women all over gave him the collective side-eye. Questions surrounding Perry’s ability to deliver an accurate and well-produced film version of the play ran rampant. Many even half-joked that Perry’s signature character, Madea, would make a cameo appearance.

Luckily for fans of Shange’s work, Madea stayed in jail. And some critics are even calling this Perry’s best film yet.

So far the reviews of “For Colored Girls” have been mixed. Venerable film critic Roger Ebert said Perry’s effort was ambitious, but ultimately failed to translate the power and appeal of the play onto the big screen. Ebert wrote,

“Shange’s award-winning play is justly respected, but I’m not sure it’s filmmable, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a wise choice for Perry. He seems more at home with everyday, human-comedy types of people, and here I think he is, if anything, too wary of his material. If he’d gone all the way in rewriting it into a more conventional drama, he might have been criticized by lovers of the play, but he might have made a more entertaining and accessible film.

That’s not to say ‘For Colored Girls’ doesn’t have its virtues. Seeing these actresses together is a poignant reminder of their gifts, and of the absence of interesting roles for actresses in general and African-American ones in particular. A generation has been often shut out of fruitful roles.”

While I can’t wait to see the film and come to my own conclusions, the buzz surrounding it made me reminisce about some of my favorite movies featuring fierce colored girls.

If you haven’t already, grab a few of your girls, pop some popcorn, queue up your Netflix, and check these out.

Just Another Girl On The IRT

Ok, this film is far from PC. At first look it seems rife with stereotypes: Money-hungry hood chicks, low-level D-boys, and wannabes. However, there is something very infectious and very real about it. “Just Another Girl On The IRT” follows Chantel Mitchell, a Brooklyn teen, who’s equal parts sass and determination. Although she grows up surrounded by stark surroundings and questionable friends, Chantel wants more for herself. She dreams of going to medical school and breaking the cycle of poverty. But when she finds out she’s pregnant, she’s forced to make some very difficult choices.

Eve’s Bayou

This film put Jurnee Smollett on the map. Set in the lush and mysterious bayous of Louisiana, “Eve’s Bayou” follows the powerful Batiste family. When Eve observes her father, Louis Batiste, flirting with a married woman, her view of the world changes. After she shares what she sees with her older sister, the lies and secrets begin to come forth, changing the Batiste family forever. Grab your tissues and your mojo root and get ready to be taken on a ride.

She’s Gotta Have It

Spike’s first film was ambitious. Shot in black-and-white,  “She’s Gotta Have It” follows Nola Darling, a Brooklyn woman unafraid of getting exactly what she wants, over and over again. While the acting in this film is pretty weak, the score and cinematography are striking. And Nola . . . Nola is fierce. Twenty years later, she still serves as a role model for women intent on getting theirs and not caring about what other’s say.

Girl’s Town

Oh how I loved this film back in the day. Filmed in the mid-1990s, “Girls Town” captured the spirit and complexities of around-the-way girls. When ‘Girl’s Town” hit there were few films that dealt with heavy issues like teen pregnancy, abusive relationships, suicide, and friendship, without turning them into afterschool specials. But “Girls Town” handles them with ease. After the suicide of their best friend, the circle of girls decide they aren’t going to mourn quietly. Instead they want revenge (and answers) from those who’ve hurt them most.

Are you planning on seeing “For Colored Girls” this weekend? What are some of your favorite films starring fly colored girls? Share!

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  • Tonia

    I have seen all of your recommended films…..good choices! Not planning on seing the Tyler Perry film….not his biggest fan.

  • keke

    I love the list of suggested films with fierce colored girls. Troy in “Crooklyn” also comes to mind.

    As for “Colored Girls”, I’m hoping the amazing cast steals the show so it doesn’t seem like a Tyler Perry movie. Like others have stated, I don’t plan on supporting him specifically…which is why I’ll be watching it online somewhere.

    • rachelb

      After reading the choreopoem and seeing the production of it directed by Jasmin Guy, I was looking foward to the day when it would be adapted for the big screen. But, when I found out TP was set to direct it, I was very concerned that he would not do it justice. After watching the movie, I must say that he did a good job of staying true to the choreopoem and the actresses were phenomenal! It was a beautiful thing to see all of these women of african descent together on screen.The film was very intense and emotional, and it definitely did NOT seem like a TP movie. I think he did a good job

  • OPTIMISTIC

    You know, I remembered when the movie Waiting to Exhale came out in the nineties..there were these same kinds of conversations of male bashings and streotypes..Question…Why is it that these kinds of questions only surface when four black women come to the screen? How many times have black women in general been protrayed as various negative characters in movies? Furthermore, why is it when our counterparts make movies with no African American characters except for waiters or extras or when movies are made that view men in a negative light we say nothing? By the way, how can one who does not understand a culture truly judge a movie. This same critic hated How Stella got her groove back; I loved it.. Why can we not support one another? Whlie we continue to pull each other down, others move ahead because of the ability to unify, ecnourage and support one another..I may not like everything, but I support those who try to make things better for us.. Remember..This is only for entertainment purposes…

  • Hey Sands, I wanna see it if you haven’t already this weekend. I’ve gotten mixed reviews from everyday people, so I don’t know what to make of it. Great post though. Glad to see your work regularly!

  • I saw the film this weekend and I didnt care for it…anyone else???