A Streaming Guide to the Musical The Color Purple

Culture

On Christmas Day, the long anticipated film The Color Purple hits theaters almost 40 years after the original 1985 movie starring Whoopi Goldberg was released. However, this version is not strictly a remake. Both movies are based on the novel of the same title written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, but the 2023 film is an adaptation of the musical that ran on Broadway from December 1, 2005 through February 24, 2008.

For the new movie, which is being backed by Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg, much of the original stage cast is back, plus several well-known faces from film and TV. It stars Fantasia Barrino, Halle Bailey, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Taraji P. Henson, Ciara, and Jon Batiste. The emotional family drama follows a woman named Celie, who is subjected to violence and abuse from a young age. Born in the early 1900s, Celie has little recourse for the direction of her life and is married to a much older man who drives away her beloved sister. Throughout the story, Celie holds out hope she’ll see her sister again some day and encounters new people who help her survive and open up, despite the cruelty around her.

The Color Purple is in movie theaters on December 25, and there is not yet a release date for when it will be streaming. It is a Warner Bros. production and should be available to stream on Max for anyone who has a subscription when it comes out.

In the meantime, it is free to watch the 1985 version for Max subscribers now, a movie that received 11 Academy Award nominations including one for Best Actress for Goldberg.

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Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.

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