Stars: 3.5 out of 5
Rest in peace, Prince. Your music will live on in our hearts for the rest of our lives. Also, judging by the emotional impact I had when watching ‘Purple Rain’ in a crowded theater tonight, I will say that this movie is one I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I can’t say that Prince’s first feature film is flawless or even a great movie, but it is one that makes you think and start to appreciate life more because of it.
Prince was surely a unique singer with his poppy tunes and high-pitched yells that almost equal Michael Jackson’s, but were still his own. As of tonight, ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ and its title song will hold a special place in my heart as my two favorites. The songs that Prince wrote are toe-tapping, from the start when he performs ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ in a packed bar to the end of the film when he shows what he has with the final song, ‘Baby I’m a Star’. As an actor, the late Prince excels, but sometimes can go a little too over-the-top with his concert-like performances.
He plays a rockstar called ‘The Kid,’ who has it big on the stage, but his personal life is an everyday hell; Each and every night when The Kid comes home, his father (Clarence Williams III in an Oscar-worthy performance) beats his mother (Olga Karlatos) in scenes that may need more meat, but are emotionally impactful for what they are. He also has two band members named Wendy (Wendy Melvoin) and Lisa (Lisa Coleman) who keep offering him music they wrote, to which he rejects. His only solace is his girlfriend Apollonia (Apollonia Kotero), who wants to be big on the stage. She gets the chance when The Kid’s rival, Morris (Morris Day in a hilarious role), asks her to be a part of his girl group Apollonia 6. This, and every form of stress The Kid has been dealing with, causes him to lose control of his life and makes the audience start to see a transformation.
‘Purple Rain’ is both not just a wannabe concert film, but tries to tell a story loosely inspired by Prince’s actual life and struggles. It does however get unnecessarily silly at times, but when it gets to its emotional and shocking moments, it does so in an attempt to tug at your heartstrings and make you feel the impact of the story. Same can be said for the actors; they don’t always give great performances, but can get into the scenes that hit its audience. ‘Purple Rain’ is fun, humorous, emotional, an example of decent film-making, and I can’t help but recommend it in memory of Prince, another soul that left this world too early.