Film Fridays is a project initiated by Darren from over at The Arty Plantsman and me.
After doing a daily music challenge for a month last year we talked about doing something similar for movies.
And the current global lockdowns give us the perfect excuse to start!
Many of us are confined to home with only the TV for company so we thought we would start ‘Film Fridays’ so that we can talk about our favourite movies and hopefully give our readers some ideas for things to watch.
We would be delighted if you would join us!
Just tag your post with #FilmFriday and do a pingback to either Darren’s or my posts so that we can can have a look at yours! You can also copy the “Film Friday” poster I came up with.
We don’t necessarily want to talk about the nerdy technical details but more about why these films speak to us as individuals, why they have a place in our hearts, and any personal memories they evoke.
So please join us each friday when we will each be talking about a different movie from our list of favourites!
Due to the current situation in the US, I’m not going to stick to my list of favorite films today but will write about African American films instead that have left a huge impression on me and helped open my eyes.
The first film that comes to my mind is „The Color Purple“ (1985) from which I borrowed the quote for this post’s title.
It is an American coming-of-age period drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel of the same name by Alice Walker.
The film stars Whoopi Goldberg (in her debut), Danny Glover, Desreta Jackson, Margaret Avery, Oprah Winfrey, Rae Dawn Chong, Willard Pugh and Adolph Caesar.
The film tells the story of a young African American girl named Celie Harris and shows the problems African American women faced during the early 20th century, including domestic violence, incest, pedophilia, poverty, racism, and sexism.
The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, without winning any – which just shows that winning an award is completely overrated.
The film received positive reviews from critics, receiving praise for its acting, direction, screenplay, score, and production merits, but was criticized by some for being “over-sentimental” and „stereotypical”.
I admit that when I watched this film as a kid, it did neither feel over-sentimental nor stereotypical but simply like one of those films you’ll never forget because it was so very well made and with enormously stunning performances by the actors throughout.
The next film is more recently made, „Hidden Figures“ (2016), a biographical drama film directed by Theodore Melfi and written by Melfi and Allison Schroeder.
It is loosely based on the 2016 non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly about black female mathematicians who worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the Space Race.
The film stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury and other missions. The film also features Octavia Spencer as NASA supervisor and mathematician Dorothy Vaughan and Janelle Monáe as NASA engineer Mary Jackson, with Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Glen Powell, and Mahershala Ali in supporting roles.
There are certain scenes in this film – like the scene where Harrison smashes the Colored Ladies Room sign – that actually never happened in real life but that have quite an effect on the viewer.
And again there were positive and not so positive reviews that I’m not going to repeat here as it would burst this post’s word-count.
To me it was a fascinating story with superb performances throughout and highlighting a part of history that I didn’t know anything about before.
Last but not least there’s the 2013 American historical drama film „The Butler“, directed and co-produced by Lee Daniels and with a screenplay by Danny Strong.
Loosely based on the real life of Eugene Allen, who worked in the White House for decades, the film stars Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, an African-American who is a witness of notable political and social events of the 20th century during his 34-year tenure serving as a White House butler.
In addition to Whitaker, the film’s all-star cast also features Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Alex Pettyfer, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Lenny Kravitz, James Marsden, David Oyelowo, Vanessa Redgrave, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber, Robin Williams, Minka Kelly, Mariah Carey, and Clarence Williams III.
Putting historical accuracy and critical response aside, to me this film is not only gut-wrenching and emotionally affecting but also raised the inner complexities and contradictions of the civil-rights landscape to my attention.
Forest Whitaker’s reflective, powerfully understated performance was outstanding and lauded as „the performance of his career“.
Have you seen any of these films? How was your response? And are there more films you’d like to add? Let me know all about it in your comments!