The Color Purple (1985)
Spielberg's rendition of Alice Walker's novel is a chauvinistic, excessive, sentimental fantasy which tries to recapture life in the South States in the early twentieth century. The objective is to portray the contemporary harsh and unloving paternal society in which women found themselves, and to show how the spirit and union of these women made them able to bear. Unfortunately, what might seem inspiring at first glance, becomes more of a moralistic Disney cartoon as the film settles in. Spielberg over-dramatizes his contrasts in order to increase payoffs, adds shamelessly evocative music (for the first time not by John Williams), and paints with the widest brushstrokes imaginable. As he so often has set out to do in his post-1970s career, Spielberg's mission here is to right historical wrongs, but he also desperately wants to do the thinking for us, and if possible, run away with some of the glory himself. His whimsical shifts in tone make the film lackadaisical and thus makes this triumphant epos rather insipid. It might work if you really want it to, preferably while you're wearing red stockings.